Consumer Information

Business, Innovation and Skills written question – answered on 10th January 2013.

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Photo of Chuka Umunna Chuka Umunna Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills

(1) what recent discussions he and his officials have had with external stakeholders on the Midata initiative relating to (a) privacy, (b) data theft and (c) fraud; and whether any concerns relating to the initiative were raised in those discussions;

(2) what steps he is taking to ensure the Midata initiative does not increase the risk of (a) infringements of privacy, (b) data theft and (c) fraud.

Photo of Jo Swinson Jo Swinson The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Women and Equalities, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills

The Government has established an overarching board and five consumer protection and trust working groups. The purpose of the groups is to analyse the potential risks of infringements of privacy, data theft and fraud, the suitability of existing safeguards in the range of circumstances that midata creates, and to identify whether any additional safeguards are required. The external stakeholders include representatives of consumer and privacy organisations, the telecoms, energy and financial service sectors, price comparison sites and the Information Commissioner's Office. All of these are assessing the provisions of existing procedures and guidance. The groups will make recommendations by the summer and any new safeguards which are needed will be taken forward as part of the midata initiative.

The midata programme is seeking to secure the voluntary release of customer data, in a machine readable electronic format, in some key sectors. The Government intends to table an amendment to the ERR Bill to provide powers to enable regulations to be made should insufficient progress be made on a voluntary basis.

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