Brands to be forced to release data

Companies will be forced into providing consumers instant digital access to data collected for marketing purposes if they fail to do so voluntarily under Government proposals to accelerate progress of its midata initiative.

data

The Department of Business, Innovation and Skills has put brands on notice after growing frustrated with the rate of progress made in voluntarily launching initiatives to provide consumers with transaction and consumption data in a machine readable format. Just a handful of companies, including Scottish Power and Lloyds Banking Group, have taken action since midata launched in November 2011.

The department has given companies until September 2014 to demonstate progress or face legislation. The decision to act follows a consultation over the summer.

Midata is intended to hand consumers more control over their data and help them make better choices when deciding which products and services to buy. It was hoped brands would see the initiative as a way to build trust by being seen as open and transparent.

Employment and Consumer Affairs Minister Jo Swinson will announce Monday (19 November) midata is about “putting power into the hands of consumers”.

“Many businesses reap huge commercial benefits from the information they gather from consumers’ daily spending patterns. Why shouldn’t consumers also benefit from this by having access to their own data to enable them to make better choices?” she adds.

The move to force action was welcomed by Direct Marketing Association executive director Chris Combermale, who called on companies to meet consumer demand for greater exchange of data.

He adds: “We call on companies to take the initiative to be open and transparent with consumers about the information they hold and how they use it. The consequences of failing to do so would be detrimental to businesses and the economy.  

Consumer group Which? also supported the shift. “Giving consumers more power with their personal data will help them make better use of their money.”

The move will be seen by some as a shift in the Government’s approach to regulation. Since coming to office in 2010, the coalition has favoured voluntary agreements over statutory rules to drive change in business practises.

A further consultation will be launched if secondary legislation to enact the regulation-making power is required.

Latest from Marketing Week

NOT REGISTERED? IT'S FREE, QUICK AND EASY!

Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now

THE BEST CONTENT

Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.

THE BIGGEST ISSUES

From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.

PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3711 or email subscriptions@marketingweek.com

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here