Government-backed initiative warns on data sharing

The Government has issued guidelines to stakeholders in the emerging personal information economy, warning them to work collaboratively on the treatment of personal data, or else risk losing public trust and possible legal censure. 


The Department for Business Innovation & Skills, has published a joint paper along with partners from its Midata Innovation Lab (MIL) initiative and consultancy firm Ctrl Shift, outlining opportunities for both service providers and consumers to share information for their mutual benefit.

Consumer concerns over privacy and the treatment of their data by both public bodies and private companies were identified as a key area of concern in the report, which involved two surveys on consumer perceptions about data security.

The report reads: “Even among relatively involved consumers, there was some nervousness around the sharing of data and the uses that it might be put to. 

“Consumers did not know who to take a complaint to should something go wrong with their data.”

The report adds that in “many peoples’ minds” data is associated with risk and policies articulated by brands on the treatment of it are “often hard to understand”. However, it did conclude that brands that can explain the value exchange of sharing their information with companies can much more effectively engage with consumers.

“The business, legal and technical aspects of new services all need to be developed iteratively and in tandem. They are all interdependent and they all need to be addressed rigorously, in a coordinated way.”

Midata is a government sponsored initiative that aims to allow consumers instant digital access to the information collected by brands for marketing purposes and dates back to 2011. 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.

The innovation lab was setup in July as a place where tech companies and brands can work together to develop apps. Its launch was an attempt to accelerate brand involvement in Midata after the Government admitted to low take-up last year. 

Oragnisations taking part in the midata lab include: BBC, Ofgem, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), O2 as well as tech and media agencies such as Grapple Mobile (aka Monitise Create) and Manning Gottlieb OMD. 

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