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June newsletter – mydata, ID assurance and market news

Posted on: Tuesday 28th of June 2011

We’re sorry that the June newsletter is later in the month than normal. But we’ve been busy! This issue covers an update on the Government’s mydata and ID assurance initiatives; we’ve asked consumers about their views on how much power they wield and there’s a smattering of market news.

We’ve been working hard with the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills to the Mydata project off the ground. The goal is to create a critical mass of companies committed to releasing the data they hold about individuals back to these individuals so they can use the information for their own purposes.

There are now five specialist working parties: a Finance Board, Energy Board, Telecoms Board, Retail Board and an Interoperability Board looking at cross-industry issues relating to data portability, formats and standards, security and privacy. Their work is being overseen by a Strategy Board which has already upped the momentum. We’re now working on a set of principles for all participating companies to commit to; workshops to identify quick wins, and a mapping process to identify the most important potential benefits and pitfalls for businesses and individuals. We need your input – we want to talk to about 100 businesses (consumer facing, obviously) over the summer to help work some of this out. If you want to be involved or simply want a briefing, drop us a line.

ID Assurance
A sine qua non of effective information sharing is organisations confidence that they are dealing with the people who they say they are, and for individuals to be able to present such assurances to organisations and to authenticate claims about themselves (such as their creditworthiness, or the fact that they have a valid driving licence). The Government’s new ID assurance project is pursuing a radical person-centric way of cracking these problems. Watch out for our Briefing Paper and ID Assurance and its implications.

Ctrl-Shift research
Tracker. We’ve now published our first research into consumer perceptions of consumer empowerment – the Ctrl-Shift Tracker. This is the start of a long-term project to monitor changing consumer attitudes towards their ability to make informed decisions, to assert control over their personal information, to manage their relationships with organisations, and to solve problems when they arise. The research is available free to registered users of the Ctrl-Shift web site. Click here for more about the research.

The information contract. We’re just kicking off our next major research project – a look at just how good (or bad) the existing contracts are between suppliers and consumers. We’ll be looking at privacy policies and terms and conditions to highlight best practice. If you think you’ve got this nailed, please get in touch as we want both practical examples and people to help steer this three/four month project.

Market news
A key part of Ctrl-Shift’s message is that the epicentre of consumer value is shifting from ‘a better product/service’ per se to ‘a better decision’ – partly because a better decision will lead you to a better product or service anyway. But that begs lots of questions, such as ‘what does a better decision look like?’ and ‘what does a better decision-making process look like?’ It’s not just about access to information because real human beings aren’t pure calculating machines. Many of our decisions are driven by emotion, ‘intuition’ and ‘gut feelings’. In this blog Alan Mitchell asks, can decision-support services harness gut feelings to help individuals make better decisions? Elsewhere, we’ve seen arguments that power is shifting back to retailers; that Google is targetting the mobile phone (perhaps not really news) and that the new cookie law could see measurable website traffic drop by as much as 90%.