Thursday, 12 May 2016

Bizarre ACT Health Laws - more illegal maths

ABC radio did a story this morning on bizarre laws from around the country, so I thought I would chip in with another.
Protection of confidential data by altering just some of the numbers is a technique that is used and accepted around the world. See the example below. But is it accepted inCanberra?
The technique means that the recipient is unable to determine which values have been altered, and are unable to tell whether a specific datapoint is true or false. However, because most values are intact, the recipient can glean useful summary information such as the average of certain values.
But a little-known ACT law apparently makes it an offence to transmit false health data.
This would make it illegal to create a hypothetical teaching scenario where a patient did not want some of their private details revealed to students.
Even fictional data, which is declared as such, seems to be caught by the breadth of this law.

Stay tuned for an update on the legality in the ACT of this standard statistical method.