The theme of consultations continues. Last week the UK government's department for Business, Information and Skills (BIS), announced a consultation on a potential requirement for suppliers of services and goods, that hold data electronically, to provide to their consumer customers historic transaction and consumption data on request, in an open standard machine readable format.
The consultation describes how transaction data can empower consumers to help them improve future decision-making. For example it might help them find a better deal, make savings, find services better suited to their needs or tell them useful things about their spending habits. The hope is that increased data transparency and greater consumer choice will help promote innovation and competition and could also have a deregulatory effect.
Currently the proposal is that the new requirement:
- would only relate to transaction data relating to a consumer's purchase/ consumption of products and services from that supplier
- would only cover factual information, for example what a consumer bought, where they bought it, how much they paid for it etc.
- would not cover any subsequent analysis that the data holder has undertaken on the information
- would only apply to businesses that already hold this information electronically and it will only have to be released if requested by consumers.
It is not intended that businesses would be required to collect any new information, but being able to service such requests would be an additional burden and needs to be considered in future systems development. Regardless of the outcome of this process, now is probably the time to review data retention and disposal policies, and ensure terms & conditions of web site use and trading are kept in step so that consent for data deletion can be obtained and recorded.
BIS holding three open forums — on the 9th, 16th and 23rd August — to discuss the proposals.
Posted on: 07 August 2012 at 07:42 hrs