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May newsletter: Personal data – it is happening here, right now

Posted on: Thursday 24th of May 2012

In this newsletter we cover the latest global and local developments in the personal information market. We trail our next report on Identity Assurance, already a £300m market, and give a round-up of the month’s news.

Unfolding developments

The market for personal information has changed significantly, even in the last month, and we are delighted to see a whole series of exciting developments.

  • In our report on personal data stores (PDS) we’ve looked at the possibility that there could be as many as 100m examples of personal data handbacks in the UK this year. We predict that over a dozen different PDS will have launched by the end of the year triggering big changes in the way individuals and organisations deal with each other.
  • Private sector company, Scottish Power, has broken ranks announcing the first midata project to release back to customers their consumption histories, making it easier for them to compare deals. Allfiled solutions has taken a look at the data and found it to be a simple .csv file – easy enough to include in a personal data service and, surely, for other organisations to follow suit. (To read our interview with Scottish Power’s Operations Director about their midata strategy click here).
  • The UK Government has announced consumer access to GP held health records in a new NHS Information Strategy. This is a small step in the right direction.
  • The second World Economic Forum (WEF) report on personal data, ‘Rethinking Personal Data: Strengthening Trust’ has been published highlighting the global significance of the market. The report recognises the growing importance of Volunteered Personal Information which we have been talking about for some time. A WEF Tiger Team, a group of international experts which we are helping to bring together, is meeting in London on June 14 to tackle some of the priority issues raised in the report, including rights and responsibilities, accountability, rules and tools. It is by invitation only but please get in touch if you think you have a helpful contribution.
  • And, of course, there’s an argument that the valuation of Facebook is largely based on the personal data the company hosts.

To hear more about these developments Alan Mitchell will be presenting at the New Digital Economics London event on June 13. We’ve secured a 50% discount for this event so if you are interested in coming let us know and we’ll give you the discount code.

ID Assurance vendors get to shape future market

We’re putting the final touches to our report on Identity Assurance. Stimulated by Government plans last summer to create a federated, citizen-centric identity service, we’ve been delving into the market further. Our research shows that the current market is worth nearly £300m and is dominated by a risk-based approach caused by a fear of fraud and money-lending. This core market is set to grow by around 5% per annum but public sector plans will double that growth. There are immediate opportunities with the Department for Work and Pensions and the Post Office (£34m combined) which are both embracing a ‘test and learn’ approach which means that vendors that get involved will help shape the future market. Watch out for the report which will be available via our website soon.

Reinventing direct marketing

Alan has written a comprehensive and informative paper on the context and changes happening in the personal information market and the practical implications for companies for creating a new data sharing relationship. He talks about the sea-change in the marketing environment suggesting ways marketers need to prepare and reinvent their approach to capitalise on the opportunity. It was originally published in a academic marketing journal, but if you’d like a copy of the article please let us know and we’ll send you one.

Market news

Data expert Nigel Shadbolt outlines the remit of the Open Data Institute which will officially open in September.

As discussions around online privacy continue to heat up Twitter has joined the Do Not Track movement announcing it will enable the new privacy tool. Abine has launched PrivacyWatch an alert system that assesses changes to Facebook’s Data Use Policy enabling people to update and manage their privacy.

Despite the challenging economic environment some start-ups offering specialist services are nevertheless securing new investment. This month these include: finance company Lenddo (provides credit using online activity as a way of judging trust); RichRelevance (helps retailers use customer data to provide a more personalised service); and identity company MiiCard.

Businesses were given a year’s grace to respond to the so-called Cookie law, which requires organisations to gain consent for using cookies for collecting consumer information. So everyone should be legal by May 26 2012 – but there is still confusion. To read our comment click here.