Three decades of data with WingArc Australia

Based in Melbourne, WingArc Australia has been helping government departments, statistical agencies, and private organisations all over the world to explore and publish data easily and safely for nearly 35 years.

WingArc’s data platform, SuperWEB2, is designed to give end users very flexible, self-service access to large datasets, while protecting the confidentiality of the individuals in that data.

SuperWEB2 is the technology behind the Australian Bureau of Statistics TableBuilder platform, which allows anyone to explore the Australian Census data.

Further afield, the tool is used by agencies around the world, at all levels of government, from New Zealand to South Africa to Europe. The UK’s Department for Work and Pensions (which has a similar role to Centrelink, and is responsible for welfare payments, child maintenance and the state pension), uses SuperWEB2 to publish many millions of records across over 70 datasets that cover its various payments and cases. That system, rebranded by the department as Stat-Xplore, is used extensively by other UK government agencies, researchers, and the general public. It is widely regarded as a strong success story for open data in the UK.

As you might expect, confidentiality is a key concern of many of WingArc’s government clients. WingArc’s confidentiality algorithm, perturbation, applies subtle adjustments to cell values to prevent users from identifying individuals without disrupting the overall trends in the tabulated data.

“We’ve seen the rise of open data over the last 10 to 15 years,” says Steven Hulse, CEO of WingArc Australia. “But too often publishers are forced to choose between releasing highly aggregated data that is less useful, or risk breaching confidentiality by releasing more detailed low-level data. Our solution offers the best of both worlds: end users can ask any question they like, directly querying the unit records. Our confidentiality protection is automatically applied on-the-fly at the server level before the user sees the aggregated results.”

If you’re looking to publish better open data, you can learn more about confidential open data dissemination with SuperWEB2 on WingArc’s website.

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