Government warns businesses to hand over consumer data or else
|19 Nov 2012 1:58 GMT||Back|
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The Government has warned that it is prepared to compel businesses to give consumers instant digital access to data collected for marketing purposes or face legal action.
The midata 2012 review and consultation, which closed on 10 September, contains proposals to make the voluntary midata initiative compulsory.
The Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BiS) has given businesses until September 2014 to show evidence of progress or face legislation.
So far, 20 companies in the energy, finance and telecoms sectors have signed up to midata, including Lloyds TSB bank, Google and British Gas.
Consumer affairs minister, Jo Swinson sees midata as a way to give consumers power over their data: “It’s great when your energy provider tells you how much gas or electricity you’re using at any point in the year or when phone companies tell you which one of their tariffs suits you best. But it’s even better when consumers can use that information to get better value for money deals or adjust their lifestyles.”
The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) contributed to the midata consultation. Chris Combemale, executive director of the DMA, welcomed BIS’s announcement to push forward the midata programme:
“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.
“According to research conducted by the DMA, 85% of consumers would prefer to hold their own personal data and exchange it with companies when they choose. Indeed, more and more consumers view their personal data as a form of capital to be collected and traded for better service, better offers and better long-term benefits.
“Companies that catch up with this new consumer trend will have to innovate and outdo their competitors to offer the most compelling benefits to consumers to encourage them to share their information. This form of competition-based self-regulation will be the most effective way of giving consumers greater control over their data.”
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