Government - business and consumer groups commit to midata vision of consumer empowerment
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03 November 2011 - BIS
The Government today
announced a ground-breaking partnership with 26 major organisations
that will see them working together to deliver a new era of consumer
The businesses, consumer
bodies and regulators involved are all committed to working with
Government to achieve its vision for midata, launched
today. And all are endorsing the key principle that data should be
released back to consumers.
midata is a voluntary
programme the Government is undertaking with industry, which over time
will give consumers increasing access to their personal data in a
portable, electronic format. Individuals will then be able to use this
data to gain insights into their own behaviour, make more informed
choices about products and services, and manage their lives more
Today’s announcement marks
the first time globally there has been such a Government-backed
initiative to empower individuals with so much control over the use of
their own data.
The overall aim of midata is
to benefit the economy, by stimulating innovation and growth, as well
as companies and consumers:
For the economy
- midata will encourage
sustainable economic growth by boosting competition between companies
in terms of value and service, and driving innovation.
- midata will create
opportunities for businesses through improved dialogue with consumers
and increased trust, and the opportunity to provide innovative new
personal information services and tools.
- midata will allow
consumers to access their data in a safe and secure way and make better
decisions reflecting their personal wants and needs. New services made
possible by midata will further assist consumers, whether it be in
getting the best deal on their mobile phone contract or energy tariff,
or managing their lives more efficiently.
Launching the midata vision,
Consumer Affairs Minister, Edward Davey said:
“Currently, most consumer
data is held by service providers, meaning only one side of the
customer-business relationship is empowered with the tools of
information management. midata seeks to redress that balance.
“This is the way the world
is going and the UK is currently leading the charge. We see a real
opportunity here, but others, including the US and EU, are also showing
real interest in the programme and the economic benefits it can
deliver. So if we want to continue leading the way, we need to develop
a platform upon which the innovation and services that drive growth can
be built. midata aims to do just that.
“I’m delighted that so many
organisations are supporting our vision and I look forward to working
with them closely as the programme progresses.”
The midata programme marks a
non-regulatory approach to consumer empowerment and is in keeping with
the Government’s broader focus on transparency and openness.
The next step will include
setting time lines and developing online 'personal data inventories'
(PDIs) in each sector, which will describe the
types of data an organisation holds about each customer.
Protocols will also be
established to handle any issues relating to privacy, data security and
midata is also working with
companies to develop common approaches that will allow customers to
access their data including their contact details, current tariffs and
contracts, etc and update basic information about themselves.
The PDI and access work will
precede the release of data back to customers in an electronic format.
The goal is to enable the first releases in the first half of 2012.
1. Businesses and
organisations that have so far committed to working in partnership with
Government to achieve the midata vision are:
- Avoco Secure
- British Gas
- EDF Energy
- Lloyds Banking Group
- Scottish Power
- Scottish Southern Energy
- The UK Cards Association
2. The following consumer
groups and regulators are working with midata to represent consumers'
interests and concerns. As well as working towards potential benefits,
their input plays an important role in identifying potential risks and
helping determine how these can be addressed:
- Citizens Advice
- Communications Consumer Panel
- Consumer Focus
- Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO)
- Office of Fair Trading (OFT)
3. The Government set out
its plans for midata in the consumer empowerment strategy Better
Choices: Better Deals, published in April 2011: http://www.bis.gov.uk/policies/consumer-issues/consumer-empowerment
4. At the recent energy
summit (17 October), energy companies agreed to participate in work to
enhance the switching process, with a next generation online method of
enabling customers to check and change to the best deal for them.
vision for midata
Consumer Data Empowerment
midata is a voluntary partnership between the UK Government,
businesses, consumer groups, regulators and trade bodies to create an
agreed, common approach to empowering individuals with their personal
midata recognises and supports the principle of individuals
using their own customer information to gain
an insight into their own behaviour, make more informed choices and
better decisions, to manage their affairs more efficiently, and to
obtain the products and services that best meet their needs.
midata is part of the Government’s growth agenda. It will help
achieve economic growth by improving information sharing between
organisations and their customers, sharpening incentives for businesses
to compete keenly on price, service and quality, building trust and
facilitating the creation a new market for personal information
services that empower individuals to use their own data for their own
Organisations can help realise the goals of midata by
providing customers with the ability to access and re-use their
‘customer data’ – including data about customer transactions,
interactions and usage behaviours that organisations collect.
The aim of the midata project
is for organisations that collect, store and use customer data to
endorse and work towards the following goals and principles.
using and holding customer data should:
• maintain and make available
to customers accurate and up-to-date descriptions of the types of
personal data they hold about these customers. (Consumer
• develop, support and
promote ways to release customers’ data back to them in a safe,
privacy-friendly, portable and re-usable manner. This data should be
made available to them online for free and to use as they see fit. (Consumer
• minimise risks of data
breaches and invasions of privacy. This includes a) working to ensure
that all personal information is accessed and released safely and
securely; b) helping to create a personal data environment that enables
individuals to hold, use and share their data in ways they understand
and can trust, which protects their interests and empowers them to use
their data for their own purposes. (Consumer Data Security)
• work with other
organisations via the midata project to encourage the innovation of new
consumer information services that deliver midata goals. (Consumer
The following principles will
guide the project:
1. Data that is released to
customers will be in reusable, machine-readable form in an open
2. Consumers should be able
to access, retrieve and store their data securely.
3. Consumers should be able
to analyse, manipulate, integrate and share their data as they see fit
- including participating in collaborative or group purchasing.
4. Standardisation of
terminology, format and data sharing processes will be pursued as far
as possible across sectors.
5. Once requested, data will
be made available to customers as quickly as possible.
6. The focus will be to
provide information or data that that may be actionable and useful in
making a decision or in the course of a specific activity.
7. Organisations should not
place any restrictions on or otherwise hinder the retention or reuse of
8. Organisations will work to
increase awareness amongst consumers of the opportunities and
responsibilities that arise from consumer data empowerment.
9. Organisations will provide
customers with clear explanations of how the data was collected and
what it represents, and who to consult if problems arise.
About the Author
© Crown Copyright. Material taken from the BIS Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. Reproduced under the terms and conditions of the Click-Use Licence.
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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2011-11-03 17:52:16 in Business Articles