Monday, 5 December 2011

Too many lobbyists in Brussels?

BRUSSELS - The European Payments Council (EPC) has fiercely criticised the influence of lobbyists in Brussels, who, according to EPC Chairman Gerard Hartsink, are 'fabricating issues'.

Hartsink cited figures that suggest there are up to 30,000 lobbyists in Brussels and added: "Anyone who feels that the EU decision-making process is at fault is certainly free to challenge the EU institutions on the matter, however, they should refrain from fabricating a 'SEPA governance issue'." Hartsink stressed that the SEPA inititative is shaped in accordance with EU law and policies and that "it is not driven exclusively by the banking industry". 

EPC Board Member Javier Santamaria said: "There is no 'SEPA governance issue'. On the contrary, the debate regarding this particular initiative has been extensive and open to all interest groups at every juncture of the process."

Following a complaint, the European Commission started an anti-trust investigation in September into whether the EPC has abused its standard-setting role in the European payments and banking industry to block new entrants to the payments market.

Published previously in E-Finance & Payments Law & Policy, CPP (c) London 2011. Copyrights apply. Picture: EU

Thursday, 1 December 2011

UK Govt to work with leading businesses on data sharing

The UK Government announced on 3 November it is teaming up with 26 banks and businesses to create a new personal identity system for making transactions and payments on the internet.

The 'Midata' initiative is hailed as 'an online replacement' of the abandoned UK national ID card scheme. The organisations involved - including Google, RBS, Lloyds, British Gas, Visa, MasterCard and the UK Cards Association - are all 'endorsing the key principle that data should be released back to consumers', according to a statement by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills on 3 November. Regulators OFCOM, the Office of Fair Trading and the Information Commissioner's Office are also on board.

Consumer Affairs Minister Edward Davey said on 3 November that "[Midata] is the way the world is going and the UK is currently leading the charge". He also claimed that the US and the EU "are showing real interest in the programme" and Midata will deliver "economic benefits".

Others, however, are more skeptical. "It sounds great to be able to ring up my bank and ask them for a spreadsheet containing all of my transactions for the last seven years, but in practice if you think about what would have to happen to pull together the data, format it, validate the relevant security issues and then deliver it, it won't happen overnight", said Dave Birch, Consultant at Hyperion. "I'm more interested in the bank providing an open application programming interface so that my data can be 'mashed up' by other applications with my permission."

Published previously in E-Finance & Payments Law & Policy, CPP 2011 (c) London. Copyrights apply.