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NSW government AI projects face ethics assessment under new assurance framework


All New South Wales government agencies using AI will be required to meet best practice ethical requirements under the country's first mandated AI Assurance Framework, which comes into effect today. The framework, which was developed by the NSW Advisory Committee led by NSW chief data scientist Ian Oppermann, has been designed to ensure AI-based government projects are safe, ethical, and can be integrated with future technologies. It also assists agencies with risk mitigation strategies and establish clear governance and accountability measures. "From diagnosing sepsis in hospital patients to identifying drivers illegally using mobile phones while driving, the NSW government is already using AI to improve the lives of NSW residents," Oppermann said. "As the technology evolves and becomes more sophisticated, the Framework will ensure projects remain transparent and include the highest levels of privacy, security and assurance, so customers can feel even more confident when dealing with the NSW government. "Mandating the framework will ensure all NSW government services using AI are required to implement strong privacy and data management safeguards." Projects with budgets of more than AU$5 million or supported by the Digital Restart Fund will also be subject to assessment by the AI Review Committee to ensure compliance under the new mandate. The state government added the only exceptions where the AI Assurance Framework will not apply is when a project uses an AI system that is a widely available commercial application, and the solution is not being customised in any way or being used other than intended. The framework is part of the state government's AI strategy in which it has pledged that transparency will be the focus and vowed to make the state the digital capital of the southern hemisphere in the next three years. "AI stands for absolutely imperative for the new New South Wales.

NSW government turns to Microsoft for procurement monitoring


The New South Wales government has announced signing Microsoft to help it commercialise its data science capabilities, initially focusing on the state's AU$30 billion procurement spend. Big data is transitioning from one of the most hyped and anticipated tech trends of recent years into one of the biggest challenges that IT is now trying to wrestle and harness. We examine the technologies and best practices for taking advantage of big data and provide a look at organizations that are putting it to good use. The NSW Data Analytics Centre (DAC), stood up in August 2015, will work with the local arm of Microsoft to offer data-related products both inside and outside of government, and "turbo-charge" the government's digital and data agenda. Under the arrangement, DAC data scientists are using Microsoft Azure and a range of Azure cognitive services to build a machine learning neural network to categorise how the NSW government's AU$30 billion annual procurement budget is allocated each year.

NSW Data Analytics Centre privacy guidelines under fire from private sector


Former New South Wales Deputy Privacy Commissioner Anna Johnston has called out the state's newly formed Data Analytics Centre (DAC) for not providing a clear definition of de-identified data to government agencies when collecting its data. The DAC was first announced last year by NSW Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation Victor Dominello with the catchphrase of data being one of the greatest assets held by government when it is not buried away in bureaucracy. Dominello then introduced a bill that requires each of the agencies and state-owned amenities to give his department their data, with the power to direct they hand it over within 14 days. Johnston, who is now the director at Salinger Privacy, explained that the practice the DAC undertakes does not override the privacy statutes that affect government agencies in NSW. "So basically the DAC cannot collect personal information from agencies if the agency handing it to the DAC would otherwise be in breach of privacy disclosure obligations," she said.

A data driven future


Data is referred to as the oil or even the soil of the 21st century. Either analogy is apt as they both illustrate the importance of data and how it will power or feed the world economy in the digital age. Data is the fuel of the future as well as the rich soil which everything will grow. Its ubiquity already spreads far and wide ranging from the consumer data story such as knowledge of our online search history, financial transactions and social media interactions. More widely, data drives the analysis of whole industries, small businesses or traffic patterns.

NSW government playing Big Brother with citizens' data


The New South Wales government is currently undertaking a data analytics project in South Sydney to determine who lives where and with whom. The project falls under the scope of the newly created NSW Data Analytics Centre (DAC), with Dr Ian Oppermann assuming the role of DAC CEO in late 2015. Speaking in Sydney on Wednesday, Oppermann said the urban renewal project is the only one that genuinely frightens him from a technology perspective. "Here we're just trying to answer the question of who lives where with whom, and believe it or not, that's a very difficult question to answer and it's difficult because we rely on census data as the baseline for understanding," he said. With urban planning the tagline for the project, Oppermann said those that are charged with planning transport, schools, water, and electricity need to know accurate residency information in order to make their plans.