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May newsletter

Posted on: Friday 6th of May 2011

The May newsletter covers the Government’s mydata, a Europe wide assessment of consumer empowerment, a market round-up and to plug your chance to meet the Control Shift team next week.

The Government’s mydata initiative – covered in our last newsletter –  is moving to its next stage. We’re glad to announce that Ctrl-Shift will be working with Department of Business Innovation and Skills as a member of the Project Board to set up the programme of work and make the strategy a reality.

The initiative aims to encourage companies holding customer data to release the data back to individuals so that they can use it for their own purposes, including sharing it with third parties. Ctrl-Shift’s new research (see below) indicates broad (if cautious) consumer support for the main tenets of the Government’s strategy:

  • 50% approve of the mydata proposals, with 17% disapproving (and a third expressing neither approval or disapproval)
  • 47% approve of proposals to encourage collective purchasing, with 18% disapproving
  • 74% approve of the Government’s initiative to ensure that reviews on web sites are from real consumers, and not edited or paid for.

Tracking consumer empowerment
Are consumers more empowered? If so, do they actually feel more empowered? According to new EU research, less than 50% of EU citizens feel confident, knowledgeable and protected as consumers. The new EU ‘Consumer Empowerment Barometer’ ranks the UK 16th among 29 countries for consumer empowerment.

Ctrl-Shift’s own UK research * also throws up some interesting findings. 83% of consumers feel that the balance of power is tilted too much in favour of large companies (just 1% think it’s tilted too much in favour of consumers). Yet 76% also say they feel better informed when making purchasing decisions compared to a few years ago, and 45% say that, in some way of other, they make sure they punish organisations that waste their time or make them jump through unnecessary hoops.

There’s also a clear consumer desire for more control in some areas. 93% of consumers agree they should be able to control what information organisations collect about them and what the organisation uses this information for. 73% also agree that organisations should pay them a fee for using their personal data.

A changing personal data landscape
Not surprisingly there’s growing interest on both sides of the Atlantic into how the personal data landscape is evolving.

  • We gather that Forrester are initiating new research into the hypothesis that “Consumers will own and manage the dissemination of data they generate as the byproduct of transactions, interactions and movements across the digital landscape”.
  • A new US-based service, Connect.Me is launching a new ‘global Personal Trust Framework’ with the Open Identity Exchange (OIX) whose goal is “to give individuals much greater control and protection over the personal data they share via the Internet and mobile phone networks”.
  • Back in the UK, the Mydex Community Prototype, set up to test individuals’ ability to share data from their own personal data stores with organisations, and for organisations to release data back to the individual, has concluded its pilot project. Mydex says that it will be launching live services later this year. **
  • One of the sessions at STL’s Personal Data 2.0 event in London, 11-13 May, focuses on the key principles of the emerging personal data ecosystem which it defines in terms of “transparency into what data is captured, control over how it is shared, trust in how others use it and value attributable because of it”. If you’re interested in this session we have some discount tickets. Here’s the event but don’t book direct as we can save you some money, if you contact us.

Join us to share notes!
We’ll be exploring these and other developments at our Explorers Club in London, on May 12, from 4.00 – 6.00pm, at the RSA, John Adam Street in Central London.
To come along, go to or phone us on 020 7000 1907.

* Research conducted by YouGov with fieldwork between 28th April – 5th May 2011
** Disclosure: Ctrl-Shift’s William Heath and Alan Mitchell are co-founders of Mydex.


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