Public attitudes to data sharing in Northern Ireland

Prof Gillian Robinson, Prof Helen Dolk, Dr Joanne Given and Ms Lizanne Dowds (Ulster) –

Government and other organisations gather information about people under assumptions that the data will remain confidential and not be passed on to any other organisations. Recent debate has focused on data linkage and the great potential that it could have for public good. Effective sharing and linking of medical and other social data is potentially a game-changer in advances in health and social wellbeing. However, the conflict between this clear potential, and the importance of protecting individual privacy of the public is an ongoing issue. This presentation focuses on this topic with a particular focus on health data in a local context. It will discuss the results of a survey on public attitudes to data sharing that was carried out as a part of the 2015 Northern Ireland Life and Times Survey (NILT).  As well as providing a valuable insight into local public opinions on such an important issue, this piece of research provides a baseline of public attitudes to data sharing that can be reassessed regularly. The findings of this local research can inform policy on data sharing between government departments and for research. and feed into the wider public debate on the issue of data sharing.

This seminar took place on 31 January 2018

Policy Briefing