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Government commitment to digital rights requires concerted action

The market will not bring digital equity” – Clare Curran on Labour ICT Policy 2017

Recommendation: Action the commitment to Digital Rights (a step towards Digital Equity) expediently

The government has a duty of care to ensure that our civil rights are not eroded by over-corporatisation of our digital systems and data. The first duty of care of the government digital sector should be to digital rights. These will help define the architectures and solutions that are appropriate to the policies that relate to these goals and apply a New Zealand context.

NZRise supports the appointment of a Ministerial Advisory Group on Digital Economy and Digital Inclusion and welcomes a focus in this area.

Action Point – Investigate adoption of Europe’s General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR)

The EU’s GDPR is currently coming into force. It covers the digital rights of citizens and clearly defines who has a duty of care over their data. New Zealand companies operating in European countries have already put systems and software in place to ensure compliance with this directive. Aligning NZ citizen rights with Europe’s would strengthen our own digital rights and ensure we remain aligned with an important trading block.

Leveraging the EU investment is a prudent course of action in a rapidly changing environment.

Action Point – Re-evaluate the government position on data curation and overseas storage

The official government advice on jurisdictional issues around storing data overseas is widely considered as weak and poorly supported by evidence. Designed by the GCIO (now GCDO) the advice in effect pushes government agencies onto overseas cloud platforms and software providers (such as Azure, AWS and Google) under the guise of cost reduction. While these providers offer flexible solutions a wider analysis should be undertaken.

Security, data usage, application of law in foreign jurisdictions and competitive conflict consequences of data collection, movement and storage are now beginning to emerge. A more considered review of jurisdictional issues highlights a less benign environment, particularly in countries such as the USA.

Many people believe NZ has a unique opportunity to provide data centre and cloud technologies to the world. With our reputation for trust, green power, excess capacity and temperate climate, we could become a world leader in this space.

Action Point – Create transparency through adoption of Open (data, code, algorithms)

Digital rights are greatly enhanced with transparency. The D5 Charter provides clear guidance with regards Open government and transparency, specifically:

3.5. Open government (transparency) – be a member of the Open Government Partnership and use open licences to open licences to produce and consume open data

NZRise has recommended an approach to “Open Everything” here.

Footnote

This post is the third in a series of recommendations NZRise members encourage and support.

We have stated these openly to Government officials and agencies via our agreed communication pathways.

Any questions please post as replies or contact the co-Chairs via [email protected]

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