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October newsletter – to hoard or to share: midata and the personal data sharing revolution

Posted on: Thursday 20th of October 2011

This month’s issue includes an update on our midata event and the great speakers who are lining up to make this unmissable and a request for your input on a new project we are working on for Consumer Focus. This is followed by some good examples of consumer empowerment in Market news.

To hoard or to share: midata and the personal data sharing revolution

On Monday 17 October, we saw the first significant announcement of the Government’s midata programme. The big six energy companies announced their intention to give consumers their energy usage data to help them to make informed purchasing and consumption decisions. Over the next few weeks we anticipate further midata announcements and the programme looks set to advance at pace.

For organisations that don’t want to find themselves behind the curve and miss out on the opportunities of midata, come and join us on November 9th at our event – “to hoard or to share: midata and the personal data sharing revolution” – where we’ll be covering the opportunities, threats and implications of consumers empowered by their personal data.

Speakers include The World Economic Forum, Callcredit, Google, Professor Nigel Shadbolt (midata chair), Cabinet Office, Experian, Barclays, Consumer Focus, Reevoo, Mydex, Bill Monitor and Which?. We’ve planned a mix of presentations and practical, interactive round tables to give delegates plenty of time to meet and network with other business leaders and to discuss opportunities and ideas as we herald this new era of data sharing.

The event will take place between 09.00 – 17.00, in Central London at The Law Society. 
Prices are £495+ VAT for one person, or £795 for two. We hope you can attend and to book your place click here.

Defining and defending consumer interests in a digital age

Consumer Focus, the statutory consumer champion for England, Wales and Scotland, has asked Ctrl-Shift to add to its body of research regarding how use of the internet and new technologies have made powerful new approaches to consumer empowerment possible. We have been asked to help build an inventory of all the potential consumer risks and downsides of the emerging digital age. The goal of this research is to build a publicly accessible database of all the potential ‘digital detriments’, to update this database as new issues arise. This is to provide an understanding of what the issues are for consumers to try to ensure that new developments in the digital world work in their interests. This will allow proactive work to head off or avoid potential problems before they become too entrenched in the system.

The best way to build this list is to crowdsource it, so we are asking you for your help. Please contribute your ideas and suggestions. What issues should we be highlighting? The potential pitfalls or downsides of new geolocation data? Of face recognition technologies? The unintended consequences or data intrusion potential of peer-to-peer information sharing sites?

There must be hundreds of potential issues out there. We can’t possibly think of them all. So please add your pen’orth! Please drop Claire a line with your suggestions: we very much appreciate your support.

Empowering consumers to make good financial decisions

On October 3rd Liz Brandt , Ctrl-Shift’s CEO, chaired an event at the Conservative Party Conference, ‘A Nudge and A Wink, Or A Push And A Shove? How can consumers be empowered to make good financial decisions?’ sponsored by Barclays and Citizens Advice. It was an interesting debate with six emerging areas for consideration, the need for: 1. Information; 2. Advice; 3. Education; 4. Trust; 5. Regulation; and 6. Decisions. There was agreement that it’s important to address all of these areas to improve financial literacy.

Market news

Technology company Evidon announced that it is teaming up with Akamai, a company that serves as much as 30% of the traffic online, to allow websites to easily place a privacy notice on their pages that tells users what tracking tools are on the page and how they can manage those tools.

The Guardian is conducting an interesting experiment in consumer empowerment by having an open newsdesk. They are encouraging people to get in touch with reporters and editors via Twitter if they have ideas.

In the United States mobile phone users will now receive billing alerts to help them manage their usage and avoid expensive, unexpected charges under new voluntary standards designed to support consumers.

As we highlighted in last months newsletter we’re increasingly seeing new developments in the control shift and now others, such as Forrester, are getting it. They have recently published a new report, Personal Identity Management, which you can download from’s blog. You can read our analysis of it here.

Here’s a link to a blog post by Doc Searls ‘Signs of progress’. This is Doc’s round-up from the Internet Identity Workshop which has been taking place 18th – 20th October. The personal data project Singly launched today, 19th October, at the Web 2.0 summit.