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Digital transformation

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Today, a lot of things that could only previously be done by filling in a paper form, or visiting a government office, can now be done online. A lot of people find that this makes their work with government simpler, faster, and cheaper. And every day, the government is building technology to let people do even more digitally.

As more and more government services become available online, what is needed to make sure that they work together efficiently, all meet the standards the community expects, and are simple to use? What type of online tools for openness and accountability should government prioritise for development?

Building Australia’s digital infrastructure

The growth in what people can do online makes things more convenient. But it can also create new confusion. For one, people need to learn how to deal with many different websites, which often look different and work in different ways. As the Australian Government brings more and more government services online in the future, it makes sense to make a plan now for how they can all work together efficiently.

Some ideas about what government could do include:

  • making a plan to stem and reverse the growth in government websites, so people can more easily find what they need and do more with the websites they already know
  • making sure all government agencies meet the same high standards in the way they use, protect, share and release the data they hold, and
  • making it easier for people to digitally prove their identity to government.

Improving access to justice

All sorts of government services are now available online. But for the Open Government Partnership, using technology to enhance people’s access to justice – including making it simpler to find and make sense of our laws, and cheaper and easier to resolve disputes through our courts and tribunals – is especially relevant. What can government through the OGP do to help?

Further reading

Discussion questions

  • Is this theme relevant both to Australia’s situation and the Open Government Partnership?
  • Are the ideas effective, relevant, and ambitious?
  • Are there other ideas related to this theme that government should consider?

 

To participate, you’ll need to register for an account. You’ll then be able to respond to the questions under each of the proposed themes, leave a general comment or respond to those of other participants, and vote on comments.

We expect your comments to be respectful and relevant. As comments are moderated, they won’t appear until they’ve been approved. If, after submission, you do not receive a notification stating that your comment has been queued for review, your submission has not been successfully transmitted to us. In this case, please email your submission to ogp@pmc.gov.au and we will publish it on your behalf. Comments will close 30 March.

If you wish to make a longer submission, you can email us at ogp@pmc.gov.au. We’ll publish all submissions we receive.

The outputs from this and the face-to-face consultations will be made available to the Open Government Forum. At its meeting in April, the Forum will be asked to assess those ideas with substantial support, and make recommendations to government on prospective themes and commitments. When government releases its draft National Action Plan for public comments in June, it will also provide a response to ideas.

 

Submissions and comments received via email

Open Government...

We look forward to receiving your comments and ideas! Just register for an account and leave a comment below.

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Open Government...

The Canberra consultations were held on 14 March and were attended by 11 participants from both civil society and government. Key ideas that emerged from discussions relating to digital transformation included:

  • support for all of the ideas contained in the discussion starter, noting that the objective of stemming the growth in government websites is to simplify access for users, and this should be done in collaboration with state and territory governments
  • the importance of ensuring all Australians have the physical access to computers and digital literacy to use them effectively
  • the desirability of ensuring that electronic algorithms employed by businesses and government in decision-making be transparent, so people can understand and assess how their personal data is being used
  • the need for a consumer data right that ensures consumers have access to their banking and other transactional and personal information, and are able to move it between providers

digital transformation

digital transformation

Participants in the these consultations also wanted Open Government National Action Plan ideas from other countries and unprogressed ideas from consultations for the first National Action Plan published. These include:

Open data interoperability (Canada, US)

Ensure data collected by different levels of government is standardised and interoperable.

Open Government one-stop shops (NAP1)

Develop centralised digital platforms / registers for:

  • freedom of information requests across the Australian Government
  • research undertaken by the Australian Government
  • Strategic Community Plans of local governments, and
  • source code for software developed by the Australian Government.

A fuller list of these ideas can be found in the papers for item 6 for the meeting of the Open Government Forum of 7 December.

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Open Government...

The Perth consultations were held on 16 March and were attended by 9 participants from civil society. Key ideas that emerged from discussions relating to digital transformation included:

  • the importance of ensuring that disadvantaged and marginalised communities have the access to technology, and the digital literacy, to fully access government services that are made available online
  • the importance of maintaining human understanding and review of any automated decision-making
  • restrictions on software end user license agreements to ensure minimum protections for users
  • greater protections for privacy online and online user-tracking
  • the de-identification of datasets held by government and the right of citizens to interact with government with minimal identification
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Ken Coghill

There is a misunderstanding in the statement "ensuring that disadvantaged and marginalised communities have the access to technology, and the digital literacy". The point was that disadvantaged and marginalised communities must have the access to government information and services in circumstances that do not allow the ready use of online or other technology, whether due to remote location or other factor limiting access to or use of technology.

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Open Government...

The Melbourne consultations were held on 20 March and were attended by 18 participants from civil society. Key ideas that emerged from discussions relating to digital transformation included:

  • modernising democracy by better using technology to educate citizens about emerging public policy issues, explore policy responses, and gauge public opinion
  • consider the feasibility of digital voting, using blockchain
  • one central website for government news
  • the desire for greater regulation of psychometric data mining, and the need for transparency and accountability in algorithmic decision-making.
  • the need for better enforcement and control of local data in international data mining

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Ken Coghill

The dot point "the de-identification of datasets held by government and the right of citizens to interact with government with minimal identification" fails to record the point that it has been shown that de-identification cannot prevent re-identification, with major implications for publication of datasets held by government.

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Open Government...

The Sydney consultations were held on 21 March and were attended by 16 participants from civil society. Key ideas that emerged from discussions relating to digital transformation included:

  • the desirability of better measuring the impact of digital transformation
  • development of a central repository of government-commissioned or -conducted research
  • development of an online platform to track freedom of information requests and view the resulting information, categorised by subject matter
  • development of an online platform to map and track the process of government decision-making on all public policy issues
  • re-development of the online directory of government officials to be more up-to-date and detailed
  • institution of a government ‘innovation fund’ to support experimental or prototype digital services

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Open Government...

The Brisbane consultations were held on 23 March and were attended by 10 participants from civil society. Key ideas that emerged from discussions relating to digital transformation included:

  • greater cooperation with states and territories to standardise and release high-value datasets
  • enhanced protections for privacy / de-identification of datasets prior to release
  • development of an easy-to-understand framework to help consumers make informed choices about collection and release of personal data
  • the importance of ensuring digital access and digital / data / information literacy, especially in remote areas and in Indigenous communities
  • the importance of contextualising datasets so as to facilitate their accurate interpretation (eg potential problems with health data dis-incentivising doctors taking on complex or vulnerable patients)
  • better measurement of how public data is used / data success stories
  • the desirability of greater proactive disclosure of government records
  • development of Information asset registers for all public agencies
  • development of a data governance architecture within and between governments
  • consideration of the feasibility of electronic voting
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Ken Coghill

It is unfortunate that this website is not a much better example of digital transformation i.e. is much easier to use.

The Open Government Partnership Australia website is confusing about how to lodge submissions and comments. Those received, for each theme,
are listed under either Submissions and comments received via email OR
the submitted text lodged as a Response is displayed as Posted .....
Although they can be submitted as Responses or Replies to Responses, I have found this to be unreliable i.e. even though I clicked in Save, neither my attempt nor my text has been recorded - in some cases. If you have sent either, check that it is displayed. If not, re-send it via email.

More reliable is to send a submission or comment as an email, or email attachment (pdf if you can), to: ogp@pmc.gov.au

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Ken Coghill

The importance of ensuring all Australians have the physical access to computers and digital literacy to use them effectively must NOT be used as a basis for denying or withdrawing other forms of communication and participation from individuals, organisations and communities who live in remote locations or otherwise inaccessible circumstances, including those relying on oral rather than written culture.
In relation to location, government MUST recognise by its actions that there are Australians who do not have electricity, much less online access. Nor is that a matter of race.
Those Australians who have relied on oral culture for 10s of thousands of years should not be denied civic participation on the basis that digital technology is more "efficient" - narrowly defined. If technology fails to enable effective civic participation, it is not efficient!

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Open Government...

The comments below have been posted on behalf of Dr Ken Coghill:

"The desirability of ensuring that electronic algorithms employed by businesses and government in decision-making be transparent, so people can understand and assess how their personal data is being used" fails to address a more fundamental point: accountability.

Accountability is more than desirable - it is essential for true democracy. 

In Australia's parliamentary system, ministers and their public servants cannot escape accountability for actions occuring under their responsibility, as Minister Porter found with the Centrelinks robo-debt fiasco in which algrithmic data matching caused great anguish due to false findings aggainst some of the most vulnerable Australian residents.

The comment should have read something like: "The necessity of maintaining accountability for electronic algorithms employed by businesses and government in decision-making and ensuring that they are transparent, so people can understand and assess how their personal data is being used."

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Open Government...

The comments below have been posted on behalf of Dr Ken Coghill:

Re use of data harvesting via social media e.g. collected by facebook, used by facebook to sell targetted advertising or sold on to other end-users or used without permission or contrary to sale conditions.:

Clearly personal data has a commercial value or facebook would not be able to profit from it. 

In this suggested scheme to protect the use of personal data, it would remain the property of the individual until and unless that individual owner agreed to share it and in accordance with the conditions under which that individual agreed to share it, in each instance. As it is (or would be) personal property, the individual owner should be able to refuse its use by others or to recover its commercial value under specified conditions. 

Its commercial value could be recovered by offering it for sale in an open market to facebook and other buyers.(Some individuals have done something like this: see How Much Is Your Personal Data Worth? by JEFF DESJARDINS <http://www.visualcapitalist.com/much-personal-data-worth/>). The difference with this suggestions is that no personal data could be used unless obtained through an authorised market.

Each use of a component of an individual's data may attract only a tiny sum but cumulatively it would be significant. 

However, the greatest benefit of the scheme would be that the individual could refuse to allow certain or all of their personal data to be used by others and breaches could be prosecuted.

In Australia's case, the scheme would apply to personal data collected from any source in Australia. 

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