Smart cities are possible and, indeed, inevitable with smart management from governments.
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These include healthcare, transportation, public safety, supply chains, water and energy/grid. Add another layer to this with the rapid growth of the Internet of Things (IoT), and it’s clear that many communities will have smart capabilities in the next few years. With the rise of smart cities, however, comes the associated danger of bad actors seizing control of critical systems through IoT or other vulnerabilities. The cities of tomorrow are here today and hacking isn’t a futuristic, science fiction idea, it’s a reality that governments and its citizens need to consider as part of their day-to-day living. Just over two years ago hackers seized control of the power systems in several cities in Estonia, knocking out the electricity for over 100,000 residents. Compounding the problem was that the hackers were able to remotely trip circuit breakers forcing power plant workers to visit substations and manually flip a switch to restore energy services. It’s with the rise of IoT that we will see cities move from simple interconnection to being ‘smart’. Gartner estimates that by 2020, there will be in excess of 20 billion internet connected devices around the globe, and that number will only grow. Where the danger lies is in the nature of IoT devices, which are defined by function and connectivity, not security. IoT devices are designed to be inexpensive, ubiquitous, fast and highly connected, but little thought has gone into making them ‘security aware’, to monitor and detect for threats from bad actors. So where is the problem? With the rise of smart cities, IoT devices are being used as sensors for traffic monitoring, to keep track of pedestrian numbers, air quality, urban congestion and flag when public garbage bins are reaching capacity. Street lamps are linked into the public information system to turn themselves on when pedestrians are around. Traffic lights report back on road congestion, and the list goes on. Put simply, if there’s a function that can be made smarter, then it probably will be. As we’ve discovered, however, these sensors are designed to be cheap, fast and interconnected. Not secure. So a traffic system could have a critical integration point to a power system. A garbage monitor could provide a sensor pathway into water treatment, while air quality monitors could eventually provide an insecure path back into a city’s core ERP and financials. Gaps in security could allow hackers to take control of financials, effectively shutting down the city because workers can’t be paid and taxes can’t be remitted. Good security means good practices The way to monitor and defend against risks and threats is to apply good security practices to IoT. Just because an air quality sensor isn’t a core system, doesn’t mean that it is exempt from the very information security practices that keep a city’s ERP, financials and disaster recovery safe. Where progress needs to be made is in adapting current effective security protocols and practices at scale to federate to the massively growing world of IoT. This means examining where security blind spots could be, designing smart cities by function, monitoring functional relationships between IoT sensors, moving to IoT specific device and data authentication, access, authorisation relationships and detecting for and responding to behavioural anomalies across sensors from core information systems in a centrally controlled manner… the IoT ‘map of the earth’. Legislation is also an important tool in protecting cities against IoT vulnerabilities. Recent laws proposed in the United States have called for baseline IoT security for equipment being sold to the US federal government. These laws would stipulate that there are no hard-coded universal passwords, and that IoT devices are standardised to meet certain security requirements such as being patch capable against flaws discovered in the future. In Australia, where the Australian Government has declared that the nation should become a leader in smart cities via its 2016 Smart Cities program, laws about the security aspects of IoT haven’t been contemplated. The closest Australia has come is with a study from the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner looking at the privacy aspects of IoT devices, which was conducted during 2016. This review of privacy could provide the basis for IoT laws governing security, however that remains something that hasn’t yet been proposed domestically. In essence, Australia is slip-streaming global moves on IoT security, and hoping that moves like the proposed legislation in the US will also provide protection for devices being sold and installed in the domestic market. Looking for the upside It’s not all doom and gloom when it comes to smart cities and IoT. Security aside – and we can’t forget security is a major issue – smart cities have the potential to radically improve the quality of life of its citizens. This could come through the better and timelier provision of current and new connected living services and more efficient provision of government and private sector services. The IoT could, for example, be a literal life-saver when it comes to natural disasters in Australia and around the globe. Sensors installed in communities could pinpoint areas that are no-go zones, conduct audits of the movement of traffic and streamline evacuations, as well as identify areas of damage due to wind, water or fire as well as geolocation of citizens in need of emergency rescue. What’s clear is that the door has opened onto smart cities and IoT. The proliferation of IoT devices and their interconnection with city systems means that, with little planning, communities will become smart by default. The key to making this transition work is twofold. First and top of mind, security considerations needs to be addressed. This is something that can happen using existing security best-practice and protocols. It’s not necessary to reinvent the wheel when it comes to IoT security. Instead, what needs to happen is that security must become part of the design of smart cities, and security needs to be an ongoing life cycle of IoT, not something that is a ‘one hit wonder’. The second aspect and equally important of becoming a smart city is data integrity. Sensors generate masses of data, and smart cities need to have technology and processes put in place to analyse data in the context of smart city critical function, in order to directly align to the connected lives of its citizens and determine in real time if there are indications of compromise and/or risk. With those two aspects in place, smart cities are achievable, quality life enhancing, safe and cyber secure. Peter Tran is GM and Sr. Director of Worldwide Advance Cyber Defence Practice, RSA. [post_title] => The rise and risks of smart cities [post_excerpt] => Smart cities are possible and, indeed, inevitable with smart management from governments. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => rise-risks-smart-cities [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-09-21 21:12:04 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-09-21 11:12:04 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://governmentnews.com.au/?p=28084 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 28068 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-09-18 16:17:32 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-09-18 06:17:32 [post_content] => Alan IvoryWith more and more government departments looking at ways they can digitally transform their practices, many are looking at software as a service (SaaS) providers as a core part of that strategy. Previously only consistent in their disparate approaches, a clear set of procurement practices are now emerging to ensure the successful integration of SaaS and maximise ROI. Working with the biggest brands in the world, I have spent thousands of hours with both government and enterprise procurement teams. Over the last year, this has involved facing over 20 different procurement departments in Asia Pacific and globally across the finance, technology, telecommunications, retail, government and travel sectors. Based on that experience, below are my top tips for a smooth procurement process.
SaaS procurement has changed the very nature of procurement teams and their core skillsets. Today’s best teams are no longer just looking at contract value or the software as a platform – they are looking at how the software will be adopted more widely by the organisation or department. This is so relevant in government where teams are often large and diversely skilled, getting the whole team on board early is essential. The success of a project depends upon the integrity of the implementation, hence executing this phase flawlessly can prevent issues from creeping up further down the line.
- Implementation first
SaaS will inevitably impact multiple teams and departments. Staying involved and engaged throughout all the stakeholder reviews is the only way procurement can meaningfully understand the requirements unique to each unit. Where we used to see procurement collecting opinions, this deeper level of understanding provides a more balanced overview of the suppliers competing for the contract, so you are comparing apples with apples. For our business, this generally starts with the event team, then moves through marketing, finance and IT.
- End to end ownership
The single truth of a SaaS is it should improve your efficiency, ideally reducing the number of vendors you use. This, in turn, reduces risk, contracts, manual processes and overheads. To drive a more efficient procurement timeline, with stakeholder engagement still high at the critical onboarding phase, government organisations need to invest in personnel with a unique skillset. They will need to repeatedly bring multiple stakeholders across numerous teams together and extract the complex ways SaaS will impact, improve or challenge them. It’s a common mistake to have a ‘techy’ run this process. While they may understand the technical implications, we frequently see the engagement efforts derail due to the lack of experience in meeting facilitation.
- The skill set
Procurement based on contract terms and price is setting itself up for failure. Conversely, striving for operational excellence hallmarks the most successful outcomes. We are seeing the best procurement teams asking to complete pilots. Most SaaS providers will have a testing platform alongside their production platform.
- Operationally centric
Integrations are a critical part of the SaaS procurement process. Look at how the software works within your own software climate - often something difficult to change within government. Determine the short term and long term goals and ask how the platform can fit into that. How will the data flow? What are the advantages and the costs to deploy? Leaders in this field are testing the integrations in pilot phases, ensuring they work with existing software, CRM, MA, financials, membership software, etc. Integration teams from the vendor and client agree on the integration piece and test with dummy data for a full end to end review. It’s also important to ask: what is the ROI of those integrations and what are the cost savings? Cost of implementation is no longer the primary focus, as organisations instead look to cost reductions of replacing manual processes and headcount reductions. The value inherent in provision of real-time analytics and big data enable further cost savings or revenue generation.
- Don’t just test the software, test the integrations too
If you want the SaaS vendor to provide a project team to assist in the deployment, meet the team – not just the sales team. Make sure the team is local, has the resources, and will be dedicated to your organisation during the process. Ask who is running the project. If utilising the vendor’s professional services team, make sure there is an alignment between procurement so the expectations are unambiguous.
- Work in partnership
Make sure all of your internal stakeholders understand the contract. Previously a tightly-held document, we are seeing an evolution into contract transparency from the top tier procurement teams. The best implementations occur when significant time is invested in multi-team consultation and onboarding after the contract is signed, with positive uptake and a sense of ownership driving optimal engagement. Conversely, where stakeholders are given no sense of ownership or empowerment we are seeing poor adoption rates, departmental stand-offs and resentment from lack of buy-in.
- Contract transparency
Most successful procurement teams have KPI linked to the successful outcome of the project implementation, not the contract value. There has never been better reason for procurement to have a part of the onboarding process, involving multi-team training of all stakeholders and any third-party agencies that may have interactions with the SaaS. If this process is not driven powerfully internally, then the project will stall here, no matter how motivated the vendor is. Disenfranchised stakeholders, under-skilled users, and lack of internal project management will quickly derail any SaaS uptake into your business.
- Own the onboarding
Surprisingly, software RFP have not evolved well with the digital era. Often they are a technically focused generic checklist of features, as opposed to focusing on organisational objectives. Make sure your RFP is up to date, has had input from the various departments and stakeholders, and is aligned with the its overall needs. Here are some of the more important, but often omitted, questions from RFP:
- Security and compliance
- Where is the data stored?
- What level of data security standards have you reached?
- What level of encryption do you hold your data to?
- Team location
Costs and benefits of casual workCasual jobs offer flexibility, but also come with costs. For workers, apart from missing out on paid leave, there are other compromises: less predictable working hours and earnings, and the prospect of dismissal without notice. Uncertainty about their future employment can hinder casual workers in other ways, such as making family arrangements, getting a mortgage, and juggling education with work. Not surprisingly, casual workers have lower expectations about keeping their current job. For example the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) found 19% expect to leave their job within 12 months, compared to 7% of other workers. Casuals are also much less likely to get work-related training, which limits their opportunities for skills development. The employers of casual workers also face higher costs. High staff turnover adds to recruitment costs. But perhaps the main cost is the “loading” that casual workers are supposed to be paid on top of their ordinary hourly wage. Australia’s system of minimum wage awards specifies a casual loading of 25%. So, a casual worker paid under an award should get 25% more for each hour than another worker doing the same job on a permanent basis. In enterprise agreements, the casual loading varies by sector, but tends to be between 15 and 25%. The practice of paying a casual loading developed for two reasons. One was to provide some compensation for workers missing out on paid leave. The other, quite different, motivation was to make casual employment more expensive and discourage excessive use of it. However this disincentive has not prevented the casual sector of the workforce from growing substantially.
Casual jobs aren’t much better paidOne approach in determining whether casual workers are paid more is simply to compare the hourly wages of casual and “non-casual” (permanent and fixed-term) employees in the same occupations. This can be done using data from the 2016 ABS Survey of Employee Earnings and Hours. We compared median hourly wages for adult non-managerial employees, based on their ordinary earnings and hours of work (i.e. excluding overtime payments). If the median wage for casuals is higher than for non-casuals, there is a casual premium. If the median casual wage is lower, there is a penalty. The 10 occupations below accounted for over half of all adult casual workers in 2016. In most of these occupations, there is a modest casual wage premium - in the order of 4-5%. The size of the typical casual wage premium is much smaller, in most cases, than the loadings written into awards and agreements. Only one occupation (school teachers) has a premium (22%) in line with what might be expected. Three of the 10 largest casual occupations actually penalise this sort of work. And overall for these 10 occupations there is a casual wage penalty of 5%. This method of analysis suggests that few casual workers enjoy substantially higher wages as a trade-off for paid leave. Taking a closer look involves controlling for a wider range of differences between casual and non-casual workers. One major Australian study in 2005 compared wages after taking account of many factors other than occupation, including age, education, job location, and employer size. All else equal, it found that part-time, casual workers do receive an hourly wage premium over full-time, permanent workers. The premium is worth around 10%, on average, for men and between 4 and 7% for women. These results imply that most casual workers (who are in part-time positions) can expect to receive higher hourly wages than comparable employees in full-time, permanent positions. However, the value of the benefit is again found to be less than would be expected, given the larger casual loadings mentioned in awards and agreements. It seems that while there is some short-term financial benefit to being a casual worker, this advantage is worth less in practice than on paper. A recent study, using 14 years of data from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia Survey (HILDA), finds no evidence of any long-term pay benefit for casual workers. The study’s authors estimate that, among men, there is an average casual wage penalty of 10% - the opposite of what we should see if casual loadings fully offset the foregone leave and insecurity of casual jobs. Among female casual workers, there is also a wage penalty, but this is smaller, at around 4%. This study also finds that the size of the negative casual wage effect tends to reduce over time for individual workers, bringing them closer to equality with permanent workers. But very few casual workers out-earn permanent workers in the long-term.
Inferior jobs, but fewer alternativesThe evidence on hourly wage differences leads us to conclude that casual workers are not being adequately compensated for the lack of paid leave, or for other forms of insecurity they face. This makes casual jobs a less appealing option for workers. This does not mean that all casual workers dislike their jobs – indeed, many are satisfied. But a clear-eyed look at what these jobs pay suggests their benefits are skewed in favour of employers. Despite this, the choice for many workers - especially young jobseekers - is increasingly between a casual job or no job at all. Half of employed 15-24 year olds are in casual jobs. In a labour market characterised by high underemployment and intensifying job competition, young people with little or no work experience are understandably willing to make some sacrifices to get a start in the workforce. The option of 'holding out' for a permanent job looks increasingly risky as these opportunities dwindle. Joshua Healy, Senior Research Fellow, Centre for Workplace Leadership, University of Melbourne and Daniel Nicholson, Research Assistant, Industrial Relations, University of Melbourne. This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article. [post_title] => The costs of a casual job [post_excerpt] => The costs of a casual job are now outweighing any pay benefits. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => costs-casual-job [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-09-04 21:25:47 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-09-04 11:25:47 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://governmentnews.com.au/?p=27959 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27964 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-09-03 12:54:52 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-09-03 02:54:52 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_27965" align="alignnone" width="300"] Dr Ian McPhee.[/caption] Dr Ian McPhee is a medical specialist with a career that began more than 35 years ago in Anaesthesia. Three years ago, at the age of 59, he was diagnosed with a rare, aggressive T-cell lymphoma. In spite of extensive treatment, including chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant, his cancer has spread to several sites, and is now in an advanced stage. Dr McPhee is a strong supporter of palliative care, and considers it a vital part of the medical system. He believes that for many, it is the difference between extreme suffering, and achieving some respite at the last stage of life. However, for himself, he is seeking an alternative option. Dr McPhee has arranged to access a drug that will enable him to end his life. He has discussed this with his family, and they are fully supportive. He has agreed to speak publicly about his situation in the hope that it will provide a better understanding of why some terminally ill individuals want the option of an assisted death. In the time he has left, Dr McPhee is urging MPs to support the NSW Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill when it is debated in Parliament next month. To this end, he has participated in a video made by Dying with Dignity NSW, promoting end of life choices. Dr Sarah Edelman, president of Dying with Dignity NSW, said that Dr McPhee has the personal contacts that will enable him to access medication to ensure a peaceful death. “This option is only available to those who have resources and connections, or those who have an advocate who is prepared to break the law on their behalf. The vast majority of Australians also want this choice”. An Essential opinion poll conducted during August found that 73% of Australians support voluntary assisted dying, with 81% support amongst those over 55 years. In the video, Dr McPhee says that his pain is likely to become unbearable and despite having access to every type of medication, none of it is capable of eliminating pain completely. “It will be nothing less than a form of torture,” he said. Dr McPhee says knowing that he will have control over the final stage of his life provides enormous reassurance. Dr Edelman, a clinical psychologist, points out that “one of the greatest benefits of voluntary assisted dying is the reduction in anxiety that comes with the knowledge that the option of a peaceful death will be always be available.” You can view the video here. Another article on medically assisted dying can be read here. [post_title] => Why can’t we die with dignity? [post_excerpt] => Intensive care specialist says: “It will be nothing less than a form of torture.” [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => cant-die-dignity [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-09-08 10:50:21 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-09-08 00:50:21 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://governmentnews.com.au/?p=27964 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27939 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-08-31 15:12:30 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-08-31 05:12:30 [post_content] => Shannon Gillespie Today, everyone knows that an idea isn’t a good one until it ‘trends’. Last year, the City of Sydney’s Zero Waste marketing campaign featured the creation of an outdoor vinyl sticker campaign that made use of clever situational placement and optical illusions to highlight the problem of dumping household waste throughout the city. Designed for city dwellers to interact with, each piece was customised to its environment to amuse and educate people about the city’s free pickup service. One of the installations was a giant stack of household waste on the side of a building that increased in size every week for three weeks. As a by-product, the hashtag #freepickup and bookafreepickup.com site shot to stardom as people snapped and shared photos of themselves with old fridges, washing machines and the like in odd, but memorable, locations such as the middle of a cycle path. The result, the City claims, was “a virtual doubling of the number of calls to the free pickup service within a week of installation”. Imagine if we took the principles of this social marketing campaign and applied it to our engineering problems. How often do we spend megabucks on infrastructure projects, but do relatively little, if anything, to educate people about the right way to operate infrastructure or to change their behaviours when using it? The 2000 Sydney Olympics was hailed as “the best organised Olympic Games ever” and was the epitome of how an effective marketing and communications plan can solve complex problems. With a population of four million people and an expected influx of half a million visitors to Sydney for the Olympic Games, drastic measures were required to cope with the pressure on infrastructure. But instead of focusing on developing new transport infrastructure, a major public communications plan was executed to modify the travel behaviour of visitors and spectators. The message was simple – Olympic transport will be different but will work well. And it did! The Sydney Olympic Games achieved the first-ever 100 per cent spectator accessibility by public transport. As engineers, our natural response is to design highly sophisticated and intelligent infrastructure that automatically adapts itself to meet the demand. We design complex and expensive control systems to control infrastructures performance and operation. The infrastructure is designed to modulate in response to the variables which, in most cases, are people. But are we looking at society’s complex challenges through the wrong lens? The recent heatwave in South Australia put pressure on the state’s electricity network due to people turning on their air conditioning. As a consequence, 90 000 properties suffered a blackout during load shedding at the end of a 42 degrees Celsius day. While the problem appears to have been a technical one, could we not have modified the behaviour of the people? Experts say that in order to conserve energy in a heatwave, people should not lower their air conditioning below 26 degrees Celsius – this has nothing to do with the comfort of individuals but everything to do with avoiding a catastrophic power outage. Whilst it may not be a long-term solution, an effective marketing campaign would help solve the problem in the interim. We are living in a world where more than ever before, we need our facilities to operate as efficiently and effectively as possible ̶ not only from an environmental perspective but also from optimising the use of capital. According to the World Economic Forum, global spending on basic infrastructure – transport, water and communications – currently totals USD 2.7 trillion a year, USD 1 trillion short of what is needed. The difference is nearly as large as South Korea’s GDP. As pressure on our natural and economic resources increases, so too does our ability to design effective infrastructure projects. If engineers treated marketing as another tool in their toolkit, how many of our complex infrastructure problems could be solved? How many millions of dollars could be saved on new infrastructure projects simply through marketing campaigns targeted at changing user behaviour? More and more, engineers should be telling their clients that a well-designed behavioural campaign should go hand in hand with a well-designed infrastructure project. In future, we might see Marketing Fundamentals become a standard feature of the Bachelor of Engineering curriculum. Shannon Gillespie is with Aurecon. [post_title] => Facebook and infrastructure [post_excerpt] => What does Facebook have to do with infrastructure? Everything, it would seem! [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => facebook-and-infrastructure [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-08-31 20:02:46 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-08-31 10:02:46 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://governmentnews.com.au/?p=27939 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27912 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-08-28 15:12:56 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-08-28 05:12:56 [post_content] => Michael Aaron For a technology that started out as the basis of cryptocurrency, blockchain has evolved to be so much more. Today, blockchain is poised to disrupt the way dozens of industries are operating, and set to revolutionise the public sector. Indeed, nine in ten government organisations globally plan to invest in blockchain for use in financial transaction management, asset management, contract management and regulatory compliance by 2018, and here in Australia, the trajectory looks similar. Last year, Data61 and Australian government agencies announced that they are undertaking a detailed study to determine what blockchain could all mean for both government and industry. The review will look to provide practical use cases where blockchain technology could be piloted in government services and the private sector, such as sharable registry information, verifiable supply chains and assessment of aggregate risk exposure in the financial services sector. Blockchain is a distributed database that can be used by individuals who want to complete transactions involving multiple parties. Large organisations can use it to collaborate across multiple organisational silos. Large, cross-industry ecosystems may want to use blockchain to handle complex transactions across multiple jurisdictions, and governments may want to use blockchain to help their citizens or in the delivery of new government applications. Trust has never been more important for governments in Australia and around the world. Globalisation means that governments need to find ways to expand the economy, and new ways to improve citizen engagement and accountability. The integration of blockchain technology into government activities will help local, state and federal governments move past a lack of trust, providing transparency for transactions. Ledgers have been used for centuries by governments and businesses to keep account of assets and liabilities, property, records and relevant transactions. But traditionally, ledgers were private and guarded, seen only by an internal few, or auditors. Blockchain takes this old and simple concept and takes it to a new level. Simply put, blockchain acts as a distributed open ledger that can be used to register and record property transactions, healthcare initiatives to track medical records, citizen services and much more. Day-to-day, blockchain can also help government processes and purchases more efficient, reducing the chances of fraud and error. In Australia, private sector organisations are already looking to blockchains as a potential new disruptor. For example, Agricultural technology business AgriDigital, executed the world’s first live settlement of the sale of an agricultural commodity on a blockchain with the sale of 23.46 tonnes of grain in central NSW. Australia Post, announced last year that it was looking at a blockchain technology project for the storing of digital identities, while AGL Energy will test how using blockchain technology could allow households to trade surplus energy from their rooftop solar panels. This initiative will also involve IBM and distributed energy advisers Marchment Hill Consulting and it is hoped it will highlight the regulatory and system changes needed to make the market work effectively, the value in peer-to-peer energy markets, as well as how blockchain technology can be leveraged to make it more effective. Because participants in a transaction on a blockchain have access to the same records, there is no need for third-party intermediaries to validate transactions or verify identities or ownership. Business licenses, property titles, vehicle registrations and other records could all be shifted to blockchains, freeing citizens from the need for lawyers, notaries and trips to government offices to certify that transactions are legal. Additionally, with blockchain consumers, business partners and government groups alike could know with certainty how things are made, stored, transported and sold – whether those assurances relate to child labor, materials or the environment. In a recent global study by IBM’s Institute for Business Value (IBV) and the Economist Intelligence Unit, it was found that government organisations around the world are prioritising blockchain to help reduce innovation roadblocks and inaccurate or incomplete information across their organisations. The results of the study show:
- Seven in ten government executives predict blockchain will significantly disrupt the area of contract management, which is often the intersection of the public and private sectors
- 14% of 'trailblazer' government institutions expect to have blockchain in production at scale by 2017, and are utilising blockchain to help reduce time, cost and risk in regulatory compliance, contract engagement, identity management and citizen services.
- Six in ten governments recognise regulatory constraints as the greatest barrier to the adoption of blockchains, followed closely by what they perceive as immature technology and lack of executive buy-in
Read More: Decades on from Henrietta Lacks, we’re still struggling to find an adequate consent model
Previously, healthcare records were held in paper form and stored in an archive. Next came the advent of digital storage in on-site databases. When you died, your records were either shredded or erased, depending on the technology. But it is now increasingly common for healthcare records to be digitised and held in a central repository. They can potentially be held for an indefinite period after someone dies, depending on the jurisdiction. Should we be worried?
A question of valueLarge, population-based healthcare data sets have immense value. This is particularly true of records that include genomic information alongside other healthcare data – a phenomenon that will only increase as information about a person’s genes is more widely used in clinical treatment. These posthumous healthcare data sets, which will grow in size and detail over the coming decades, could tell us a great deal about diseases and heritability. Data sets from generations of families and communities may well be available for research, and able to be analysed. Information on this scale is worth a lot, especially for data storage companies and those with a financial interest in these data sets, such as pharmaceutical companies. Imagine, for instance, if a company could quickly analyse millions of genomes to isolate a disease that could be cured by an engineered pharmaceutical, and the commercial value this would create. So how will this affect the individual whose data is held and their surviving family? Many people would be willing to donate medical records if the downstream result was beneficial for their community and country. Yet the lines become easily blurred. Would it be acceptable if data sets were sent to foreign companies? What if they provided a cure free of charge to the families of citizens whose data they used? How about if the cure was half price, or full price, but the other option was having no cure at all? Would it be all right for companies to make millions of dollars out of this information? There is no easy answer. [caption id="attachment_27771" align="alignnone" width="300"] Every time you visit a doctor’s office, you create data. Keith Bell/Shutterstock[/caption]
What’s the legal situation?It’s impossible to talk about the long term fate of healthcare data without considering privacy and consent. As part of medical research, for example, participants are required to provide informed consent and often the gathered data are anonymised. Access to posthumous medical records, on the other hand, is not highly regulated or protected in most countries, and the laws surrounding access are incredibly unclear. In New Zealand, a deceased person has no privacy rights under the Privacy Act. And while healthcare data has to be held for a minimum of 10 years after death, the regulatory body which is then custodian of that data may decide - broadly - what purposes it may be used for. Given that the custodian can be anyone from a health board or local doctor to a commercial institution that stores health records, the situation is exceedingly vague.
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It is often argued that use of anonymous data sets do not require consent from an individual – in our case, a deceased person cannot provide this anyway. However the lines of true “anonymity” are becoming more blurred, particularly thanks to genomics. Your own genome is partly that of your family and relatives. They may also have an emotional stake, and possibly a legal stake, in any action or research where the genome of a deceased family member is involved. The medical profession has not always dealt well with consent and ethics issues. In one infamous case, the cancer cells of Henrietta Lacks – a 31-year-old American woman who died of cervical cancer in 1951 – have been used thousands of times in research projects. She unwittingly made an invaluable contribution to global health, yet she never consented and her family was not consulted. Then there is the fact that if large data bases are readily available, the possibility of data linkage increases – matching data sets that may belong to the same person – potentially undermining the ability to maintain true anonymity for the individual and their family.
What happens now?The New Zealand and Australian governments have signalled that healthcare data are a widely underused resource. Commercialisation of such data is a possibility. At some point, large posthumous healthcare data sets from these countries could potentially be accessed by researchers and private institutions around the world. It is time for the public to decide what they think is reasonable. If the use of posthumous healthcare data is not aligned with the wishes of society, especially its desire for anonymity, the trust between our healthcare providers and patients may become compromised. Healthcare data sets have immense value, but the public must be consulted about their use. Only then can the potential of posthumous healthcare data sets be properly realised. Jon Cornwall, Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Health, Victoria University of Wellington This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article. [post_title] => Healthcare records: take them to the grave? [post_excerpt] => Our healthcare records outlive us. It's time to decide what happens to the data once we're gone. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => 27766 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-08-07 15:08:17 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-08-07 05:08:17 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27766 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27781 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-08-07 09:03:28 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-08-06 23:03:28 [post_content] => Andrew Ferrington The third series of 'Utopia', the fan favourite for all who have worked in an office, premiered last month. The series — created by the prolific Working Dog team — tells of the National Building Authority's coexisting contrary tensions of bureaucracy and ‘blue sky’ ambitions. At the outset, let me disclose that I spent more than 15 years in a variety of roles in public service and am now back in the private world. The show is great — the ministerial adviser tries to highlight the positives of the NBA's ambitions, while the authority itself grapples with its commission to be ambitious in its outlook. The show makes its mark by illustrating the tensions between the government, its ministers and the institutions that oversee it, all while the NBA attempts to complete public brief it has to envision the future. The thing that concerns me is not the laughs at the bureaucracy's expense, it’s what it points out about the private sector. The big-picture thinking that always gets a laugh, is now nowhere to be seen. Because it can't be. Only government is able to take the risk to lead such big change. The private sector not only can't – but won't. It doesn't have the mandate, the appetite or the ability to dream large with these projects. The trope that "we don't need the government" as Rob Sitch's character says in episode one, becomes simply wrong. No entity but the government can make a decision or show the leadership that is needed to execute projects that bring about fundamental changes to society. Further, the contemporary discussion about ‘small’ government and that it should get out of the way of business is also a nonsense. If we didn't have government imagining these large projects, taking risks that the private sector can't even conceive of, and spending the money (yes, our money), society would be nothing like it is today. We do well to understand the context in which government works, because it is important. This leadership trickles down: while the government mandates that women, people with a disability or indigenous peoples have a significant contribution to play in society, the private sector is far behind. As a former bureaucrat, 'Utopia' makes me laugh. Yes, I've seen these behaviours: where the tyranny and vanity of politics overrules all. But it also makes me sad, because it mocks the leadership role that government plays, and the vision and ideas that the private sector can't possibly imagine. Next time you leave home (which is standing solidly, because government regulations mandated it should be built to a certain standard), think about the water, electricity and other services you use, the roads you drive on, footpaths you walk on, and trains you might catch. While they may be delivered by the private sector, they were planned and imagined by governments. And without them, we would be significantly worse off. Andrew Ferrington is the national tenders manager at Findex Group. [post_title] => There is no private ‘Utopia’ [post_excerpt] => Government is the only one working to create a 'Utopia'. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => no-private-utopia [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-08-07 15:04:55 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-08-07 05:04:55 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27781 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27757 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-08-03 19:42:31 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-08-03 09:42:31 [post_content] => The popular idea that the economic divide between Australia’s cities and regions is getting bigger is a misconception, according to new Grattan Institute research. The working paper Regional patterns of Australia’s economy and population shows that beneath the oft-told ‘tale of two Australias’ is a more nuanced story. Income growth and employment rates are not obviously worse in regional areas. Cities and regions both have pockets of disadvantage, as well as areas with healthy income growth and low unemployment. And while cities have higher average incomes, the gap in incomes between the cities and the regions is not getting wider. Grattan Institute CEO John Daley said the research casts doubt on the idea that regional Australians are increasingly voting for minor parties because the regions are getting a raw deal compared to the cities. “Given that people in regions have generally fared as well as those in cities over the past decade, major parties may need to look beyond income and employment to discover why dissatisfaction among regional voters is increasing,” he says. The paper shows that the highest taxable incomes in Australia are in Sydney’s eastern suburbs, followed by Cottesloe in Perth and Stonnington in eastern Melbourne. The lowest taxable incomes are in Tasmania and the regions of the east-coast states, especially the far north coast of NSW, central Victoria and southern Queensland. But income growth in the regions has kept pace with income growth in the cities over the past decade. The lowest income growth was typically in suburban areas of major cities. While unemployment varies between regions, it is not noticeably worse in the regions overall. Some of the biggest increases in unemployment over the past five years were along transport ‘spines’ in cities, such as the Ipswich to Carole Park corridor in Brisbane and the Dandenong to Pakenham corridor in Melbourne. The biggest difference between regions and cities is that inland regional populations are generally growing slower – particularly in non-mining states. Cities are attracting many more migrants, particularly from Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. The east coast ‘sea change’ towns are also getting larger, but unemployment is relatively high. The research will contribute to a forthcoming Grattan Institute report examining why the vote for minor parties has risen rapidly over the past decade, particularly in regional electorates. Read the full report here. [post_title] => City-country divide: not as wide as you may think [post_excerpt] => That the economic divide between Australia’s cities and regions is getting bigger is a misconception. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => city-country-divide-not-wide-may-think [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-08-03 19:47:11 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-08-03 09:47:11 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27757 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27743 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-08-02 14:33:30 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-08-02 04:33:30 [post_content] => Andrew Hudson The Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Peter Dutton used his opening address at the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIPB) Industry Summit on Monday morning (31 July 2017) to assure those in the private supply chain and their clients that the current work agenda would be maintained under the proposed Home Affairs department. Along with the Acting Commissioner of the Australian Border Force (ABF), Minister Dutton reiterated that the ABF would continue in its traditional ‘Customs’ role and the ABF, as part of the DIBP, would also continue its vital engagement with industry and development of trade facilitation measures to assist in the legitimate trade in goods and movement in people. At the time of the announcement of the creation of the new Department of Home Affairs (DHA), the focus of the commentary was on national and border security issues with no comment on the traditional ‘Customs’ role of the ABF or its ongoing engagement with industry and the facilitation of international trade at the border. Naturally, there were some concerns that the failure to address these important roles could mean that the importance of those roles was being downgraded and that momentum on various initiatives here and overseas could be lost with an increased focus on security and intervention in trade. Both speakers made the point that the involvement of the ABF with the DHA would allow the ABF to have access to additional information at an earlier stage than is presently the case, which would actually enhance the ability of the ABF to carry out its roles. These outcomes were all consistent with the theme of the industry summit being “Border Innovation: strengthening our nation’s economy, security and society.” In terms of the work of the DIBP and the ABF in the engagement with industry in relation to the movement of goods, there was reference to recent achievements and future commitments with such initiatives as:
- The creation of a ‘single window’ for trade such as in Singapore and New Zealand.
- The expansion of the Australian Trusted Trader Program (ATTP).
- The recent completion of four Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRA) with other customs services for those in the ATTP.
- The promise of more MRA with customs services in other trading partners.
- The development and implementation of Free Trade Agreements (FTA) to improve the use of those current and future FTAs by the adoption of robust Rules of Origin, enhanced border clearance facilitation.
- The increased use of more advance technology and reporting systems.
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