Health technology and big data: social licence, trust and the law

Bernadette Richards, James Scheibner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Technology is empowering advances in health care, extending beyond the clinical interface to the collection, collation and use of personal data. While this advance has the potential for population-wide benefits, there are legal and ethical challenges which carry the risk of both individual and collective harms. This section critically appraises the existing approach to the governance of health data in Australia. This approach is grounded in the principles of autonomy, privacy and respect for individual choice. This section then identifies the broader imperatives of social good, public health, improvement of outcomes and advancement of knowledge and the importance of balancing individual and collective interests. Central to this discussion are the concepts of social licence and avoiding ethical debt. A significant challenge to the appropriate sharing and use of health data are the existing regulatory barriers (both perceived and actual) and these are explored in some detail.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)388-399
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Law and Medicine
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2022


  • Big data
  • trust
  • technology
  • social licence
  • ethical debt
  • privacy


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