May is the month to increase your IQ

May is Information Awareness Month. Learn about the events and opportunities supporting this initiative


May is Information Awareness Month. The goal is to increase public awareness of information and its place in all aspects of daily life and this year’s theme is Trust in the Digital World.

Highly topical in this era of Facebook scandals, fake news and WikiLeaks, when information is a resource and currency – trust is essential for both digital commerce and digital government.

There are lots of great events and opportunities to increase your Information Quotient (IQ).

On 2 May, University of Technology Sydney will host a Meetup on Leading Information Governance as part of its Information Innovation series. The session will consider how information governance is changing, and the capabilities required by organisations and information professionals. Guest speakers include David Fricker (National Archives of Australia); Susan Bennett (Information Governance ANZ); and Christopher Colwell (UTS).

Open Government Week kicks off on 7 May. It’s a global call to action by the Open Government Partnership, to transform the way governments serve their citizens. It will feature seminars, hackathons, public debates, webinars, open dataset releases and lots of other events with a focus on transparency, participation and accountability.

Openness is key to building trust; and information is at the heart of open government. Government information accessibility was a topic for the UTS Information Innovation series in February. At the end of my summary, I proposed some solutions to the challenges of information release. I’ll write more about these ideas during Open Government Week.

The Federal Budget is due to be released on 8 May. Last year’s Budget centred around “smaller, smarter, more sustainable government”. It included a range of measures to modernize the public sector and make better use of data and information. It will be interesting to reflect on progress over the past 12 months and see whether the government is investing further to accelerate this transformation.

13-19 May is Privacy Awareness Week. PAW is an initiative of the Asia Pacific Privacy Authorities forum, to raise awareness of privacy issues and highlight the importance of protecting personal information. This year marks the 30th birthday of Australia’s Privacy Act, first enacted in 1988. Changes in technology and increasing use, exchange and analysis of data and information have reinforced the importance of privacy.

There is a close relationship between openness and privacy. The OAIC notes that privacy today is founded on principles of transparency and accountability. People want to know how their personal information is used and managed. Understanding how governments and businesses protect privacy also contributes to building and maintaining trust.

Finally, the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into effect on 25 May. It may impact businesses outside the EU where they have an establishment in the EU, or offer goods and services in the EU, or monitor the behaviour of individuals in the EU.

The GDPR extends the rights of individuals over how their personal information is processed. It requires strong information governance and good recordkeeping to demonstrate accountability. These mechanisms are now so central to success in the digital economy that they should be designed into the core processes of every organisation. Beyond compliance, the GDPR offers a roadmap to customer trust and a springboard for innovation.

It’s shaping up to be a very busy month. Hope to see you at some of these upcoming events.

Sonya Sherman, Industry Solutions Principal

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From the author: Sonya Sherman