A new, cross-industry data governance association, Data Governance Australia (DGA) has launched today, with the aim of establishing best practice industry standards and benchmarks for the collection, use and management of data in Australia.

Chaired by former ACCC chair and current Monash Business School professor Graeme Samuel, the DGA also will provide education, thought leadership and advocacy services to its members.

Its 12-strong board comprises of representatives from a number of industries, including data analytics, finance, insurance and retail.

The DGA will operate alongside its associated organisations, the Australian Interactive Media Industry Association (AIMIA), the Association for Data-driven Marketing and Advertising (ADMA) and the Institute of Analytics Professionals of Australia (IAPA), which will all operate separately but share an expert team and other resources.

Samuel told IoT Hub that the growth of the Internet of Things and the volumes of data it will generate will present challenges that the DGA has to address.

“The big challenge will be that the massive growth in data and its use and availability, means the issues this will bring in terms of the community at large and in terms of business, industry, and their imperatives are going to come along a lot quicker than we’ve ever contemplated,” he said.

“That’s why you need to be nimble and agile, and that’s what the DGA has to be in order to deal with the changes that will inevitably occur.

“(IoT has) the potential to improve lifestyles and improve consumer choice (for products and services), but at the same time, it’s going to provide challenges, in particular relating to data privacy, use, analysis, integrity of the analytics, and subsequent consequences of all of these issues.”

The importance of industry-led governance

Samuel said it was important for the business sector to establish this association rather than waiting for government to step in.

“If the industry doesn’t do it itself, then ultimately government has to step in by default, and the risk is that government would over-reach (in its influence),” he explained.

“For an industry-led regime to be effective, it’s got to be one that is transparent, accountable, and satisfies fundamental tests of integrity and credibility.”

Samuel said the association’s aim is to establish a code of conduct that sets compliance and ethical standards for how data is collected, accessed, analysed and used.

“We’d like to get to a position where if you’re a member of the DGA, then you’re automatically subscribing to compliance with that code of conduct,” he added.

Samuel hopes that this code of conduct will be ready to submit to the ACCC in the early part of 2017, but said the group’s focus will be in other areas as well.

“We also want to establish a series of guidelines as to how a business - large or small - can work through its processes and protocols,” he said.

“This will ensure that they are set up in a way that will enable that business to satisfy itself that it is complying with the standards that will be set by the code of conduct.”