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A statistics cheat sheet with an Australian focus

As a privacy professional, I’ve often encountered the claim that ‘young people don’t care about privacy’. For example, in May 2021 former Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, made this claim:

“The Facebook generation, the digital natives … look at the stuff people put on Facebook, for heaven’s sake. So it’s a different world, but I think that my generation — I’m in my mid 60s — is, I think, more sensitive to data then perhaps people in their 30s”.

This is, basically, a complete and total myth.

Numerous studies and survey show…


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In 2021, Rules as Code (RaC) is truly hitting its stride. More and more governments are exploring the concept of machine-consumable legislation, regulation and policy, and looking at how to approach creating and delivering better, machine-consumable rules. Research institutes have been established, papers and reports are being published, tools and platforms are being built, and multi-disciplinary teams are trying new things — learning new ways to draft and implement rules by getting their hands dirty.

Given that it’s still an emerging practice, a lot of the current discussion about RaC is centred on introductory questions such as why and how


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‘Rules as Code’ is not a single technology, component, or practice — it includes many different aspects beyond merely coding rulesets.

What is ‘Rules as Code’? is the wrong question

As digital transformation continues to gain pace within governments and the legal industry, “what is Rules as Code?” is becoming an increasingly common question.

It’s also the wrong question.

Let’s step back a bit. In the Observatory of Public Sector Innovation’s 2020 report on RaC — Cracking the Code — the OPSI went into some detail trying to define Rules as Code (RaC). They had some interesting observations on the intended outcomes of RaC:

“RaC does not simply aim to improve or enhance what already exists. Rather, RaC envisions a fundamental transformation of the rulemaking process itself and of the…


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This roundup was drafted with the input of many people, but in particular Meng Wong, Jason Morris, Scott McNaughton, Thomas Guillet, and Pia Andrews.

Well, it’s been an enormous year for pretty much everyone, and not necessarily for great reasons.

Here in Australia, 2020 kicked off with the entire country being on fire, and then segued not-so-smoothly into the global pandemic.

COVID-19 has highlighted a great many weaknesses in how we do governance and deliver services, stretching the capability of government and businesses to merely keep functioning, let alone improve service delivery. Many governments relied heavily on emergency powers to…


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Tim de Sousa and TJ Harrop

“Privacy must become integral to organizational priorities, project objectives, design processes, and planning operations. Privacy must be embedded into every standard, protocol and process that touches our lives.”

The former Privacy Commissioner of Ontario, Ann Cavoukian, wrote these words in 1995. Privacy by Design is not a new concept — it’s old enough to drink, vote and buy cigarettes. However, while many people know the term, they often don’t understand how to apply Privacy by Design in practice. It usually gets boiled down to a compliance assessment — boxes are ticked, mitigations are assigned…


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How speculative fiction can inform better public policy

This article was first published in The Mandarin on 20 August 2019.

‘Story is our only boat for sailing on the river of time’, writes Ursula le Guin in her pensive, lyrical story A Fisherman of the Inland Sea. That tale is about a man out of time, recounting the events of his past that, for the reader, lie in the future. The boat can go both upriver and down, allow us to look both back and forward.

As a lifelong reader of sci-fi and a policy professional working with emerging technologies, I’ve found that diving into visions of the…

Tim de Sousa

I’m an Australian privacy and information governance policy specialist with a focus on innovation and emerging technologies. @timdesousa

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