The government is threatening to bring in new laws to force organisations to share the data they are holding on the public, as it continues to promote its midata initiative.
Midata was launched in April 2011 as part of the government’s "consumer empowerment strategy" Better Choices: Better Deals. The programme is a partnership between the UK government, consumer groups and major businesses, aimed at giving consumers access to the data created through their household utility use, banking, internet transactions and high street loyalty cards.
The government has launched a consultation on its next moves to push midata. The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) said: "The consultation explores the option of taking an order-making power to ensure government has the flexibility to act if the voluntary approach proves too slow.
"We are looking for information to help us get the details right so we can have an effective implementation of midata that will remain relevant in the future."
The consultation ends on 10 September. It added that further consultation would be needed before the power could be exercised through secondary legislation.
The government says new legislation would give new rights to consumers to access their personal transaction data in an electronic, portable and machine-readable format.
Consumer minister Norman Lamb said, "Giving consumers the right to access their own transaction data promises huge opportunities for both consumers themselves and UK businesses."
The government believes consumers will spend time analysing their spending habits to allow them to "make better spending choices and secure the best deals". It said this will boost competition between companies in terms of value and service, and "stimulate innovation in new data management tools and systems".
Lamb said: “We want the UK to be at the forefront of the data analytics and information services market that is rapidly growing with huge international potential."
Professor Nigel Shadbolt, chair of the midata programme, said: "Empowering consumers in this way will help to build an efficient, innovative 21st century economy.”
Last November the likes of Google, Visa, Lloyds Banking Group and British Gas were among the first large companies to publicly support the midata initiative.
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