Managing Risk

Managing Risk

Researchers proposing the use of linked data must develop and implement a data security plan to protect the personal information and the privacy of the people whose information they are using. It is essential that the security plan is commensurate with the level of risk associated with the proposal and the likelihood of this harm eventuating.

A data security plan must:

  • acknowledge all potential risks to participants and ensure that adequate steps are detailed to minimize and manage those risks
  • identify the type of data, its level of risk and the measures proposed to manage the privacy risks at every stage of the research project.
  • address elements including -
    Personnel security controls:
    this includes limiting access to only those people assessed to be suitable and whose work responsibilities specifically require them to access these resources.
    Administrative Security Controls: consists of approved written policies, procedures, standards, guidelines, security training, risk assessments and external reviews.  
    Protection of identity: such as the separation of identifying information and content information and statistical disclosure control in publication of results.
    Physical security: physical barriers should be in place to prevent access by unauthorised people.
    Technological Security: this includes password protection, encryption, firewalls, secure remote access laboratorys and the use of stand-alone computers.
    Secure Transportation: both physical and technological protection should be used in transporting information.
    Secure Retention and Disposal: transparent and secure arrangements should be made for the retention and final destruction of the data after the project is complete.

Useful resources

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Data linkage has a significant role in reduction of cervical cancer in Australia. The HPV vaccine was introduced in 2007, success of the vaccine was monitored by linking vaccine registers to cervical smear registers in Queensland & Victoria.

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Please note our Christmas and New Year office shutdown days and times for the Program Office and the rest of our data linkage infrastructure. We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!