midata launch: Big Brother Watch comment

Responding to the Government’s midata announcement, Nick Pickles, director of privacy campaign group Big Brother Watch, said: “This is a laudable scheme, but given consumers already have a legal right to be given the data held about them by any company, should we not be asking why that legal right is being ignored and distorted rather than trying to find a trendy-sounding way to make a handful of companies to up their game?

“There are clear security and privacy issues raised by consumers being given access to financial and utility use data, not to mention ensuring when it is given to a third party it is only used for what a consumer chooses. These risks can only be addressed by a much more robust approach to data protection and consumer rights than midata entails.

“Ultimately so much data will fall outside the scope of the plans consumers will still not have a full picture of what businesses know about them, while the real weaknesses in data protection and enforcement by the Information Commissioner’s office will go unresolved.”