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.