News story

New power to boost consumers access to data

Jo Swinson announces new powers for consumers to request their personal customer data from business, under the midata programme.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government


19 Nov 2012

Consumers will be given new powers to request their personal customer data from business, helping them manage their money better and make better lifestyle choices.

Following a consultation this summer, the Government will announce that it will look to legislate if companies fail to comply with the voluntary release of consumers’ electronic data.

Under new plans, companies would have to release data they hold relating to a consumer’s consumption or transactions in an electronic machine readable format, upon request.

To begin with the power to legislate will be focussed on three ‘core’ sectors: current accounts and credit cards, mobile phones and energy, with further powers to extend the legislation to other sectors if appropriate.

Employment and Consumer Affairs Minister Jo Swinson said:

“‘midata’ is all about putting power into the hands of consumers. Many businesses reap huge commercial benefits from the information they gather from consumers’ daily spending patterns. Why shouldn’t consumers also benefit from this by having access to their own data to enable them to make better choices?

“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.

“This is just one of many ways ‘midata’ can help, as businesses increasingly recognise sharing data as a means to deliver a better service for their customers.”

A midata future: 10 ways it could shape your choices

Published 19 November 2012