Privacy Preserving Geo-Linkage in the Big Urban Data Era
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- Sinnott, R.O., Bayliss, C., Bromage, A. et al. J Grid Computing (2016) 14: 603. doi:10.1007/s10723-016-9372-0
Big data technologies and a range of Government open data initiatives provide the basis for discovering new insights into cities; how they are planned, how they managed and the day-to-day challenges they face in health, transport and changing population profiles. The Australian Urban Research Infrastructure Network (AURIN – www.aurin.org.au) project is one example of such a big data initiative that is currently running across Australia. AURIN provides a single gateway providing online (live) programmatic access to over 2000 data sets from over 70 major and typically definitive data-driven organizations across federal and State government, across industry and across academia. However whilst open (public) data is useful to bring data-driven intelligence to cities, more often than not, it is the data that is not-publicly accessible that is essential to understand city challenges and needs. Such sensitive (unit-level) data has unique requirements on access and usage to meet the privacy and confidentiality demands of the associated organizations. In this paper we highlight a novel geo-privacy supporting solution implemented as part of the AURIN project that provides seamless and secure access to individual (unit-level) data from the Department of Health in Victoria. We illustrate this solution across a range of typical city challenges in localized contexts around Melbourne. We show how unit level data can be combined with other data in a privacy-protecting manner. Unlike other secure data access and usage solutions that have been developed/deployed, the AURIN solution allows any researcher to access and use the data in a manner that meets all of the associated privacy and confidentiality concerns, without obliging them to obtain ethical approval or any other hurdles that are normally put in place on access to and use of sensitive data. This provides a paradigm shift in secure access to sensitive data with geospatial content.