Why would the Australian Treasury need sentiment data?


Australia's Federal Department of Treasury is considering how it might harness a big data service to plug real-time social media sentiment analysis into its forecasting and policy models. It is even considering a trial of technology from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, or CSIRO.

Treasury CIO Peter Alexander--who spoke at the CeBIT big data conference in Sydney today--said that the organization's main objective is forecasting in order to inform policy making, according to an article in IT Wire. He suggested utilizing a mix of real-time retail, crime or traffic statistics, rather than relying on traditional stores of historical data in order to get better lead indicators, which could be used to shape policy direction.

Not looking to develop an internal search engine, or attempt to index social media himself, he said services could be developed that would plug into CSIRO's sentiment analysis tools.

CSIRO has already run trials of its software with the Department of Human Services. Regarding privacy, Alexander acknowledged that it is important to heed privacy concerns when mining big data. He also said most of the roadblocks aren't from people, but from the many formats used for data.

For more:
- see ITwire

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