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MPs on individuals controlling personal data

Posted on: Tuesday 2nd of August 2011

Just come across the House of Commons Public Administration Select Committee’s report on Government’s use of IT. Entitled “recipe for rip-offs: time for a new approach” it covers lots of things but one in particular struck my eye.

Here are its conclusions on the specific issue of Personal Data Ownership.

“Giving control of personal data to the individual has the potential to improve data quality while reducing both costs and risks. Individuals are used to controlling their own data with private sector companies, such as Amazon and with utility companies.
Moving to a model where the citizen maintains their own personal data with an independent, trusted provider and then can choose whether to authorise the sharing of that information with other organisations is an ambitious vision that will need to be trialled extensively. We also recognise that there may be legal constraints and concerns about privacy which could act as a barrier to implementing such a radical reform. We therefore recommend that the Government, working with the Information Commissioner, review potential barriers to the personal data model and explore the ways in which this model could best be developed.”

The Select Committee goes on:

“We welcome the work being done to create an integrated identity assurance trust model for simplifying access to Government services. We suggest that Government consider integrating this work with the personal data model. This could represent an important step, placing responsibility and control of personal data with citizens in their interactions with public and other online services.”

Of course there are many signs that the Government is already thinking along these lines. But the fact that a cross-party committee of MPs so clearly supports this direction of travel is another example of the increasing momentum towards the control shift.

Ctrl-Shift’s briefing on the identity assurance initiative is available here. And our overview of the control shift as it relates to personal data is available here.

Alan Mitchell