Talking and listening to Jim Harris of OCDQ Blog has got me thinking about data management. Specifically I’m thinking about the challenges facing data management in the New Zealand government sector – where I currently work. Initially when I started here, and saw some issues relating to data management, I thought: “yep, I’ve seen this before – the issues and the answers are the same as in the private sector.” Now that I have been working here a bit longer, I realise that this is only half right, that there are some issues that are specific to government (or the New Zealand government) and that some solutions common in the private sector cannot be straightforwardly applied here either.
One of the significant challenges facing data management in government is navigating the restrictions and constraints introduced by privacy legislation. Why does this matter and how does it impact data management? Well, to take just one example: you can’t create a single view of a customer (or citizen) if the interpretation of privacy law is that you aren’t allowed to match pieces of information about the same person if they are obtained for different purposes. I thought I’d write a series of short posts on this topic, starting with this one on why privacy is a bigger issue for government agencies than it is for the private sector.