Wednesday 29 August 2012

midata, the loneliest initiative in Whitehall – 4

In short, BIS want the power to force companies to do something
that they're already doing.

Some readers may by now have forgotten what the point is of midata. In their own words, with a view to empowering consumers and growing the economy, the Department of Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) say, in their midata consultation document (para.6, p.11):
... we are consulting on the possibility of taking an order making power. If utilised, this will compel suppliers of services and goods to provide to their customers, upon request, historic transaction data in a machine readable format.
The banks already provide us with "historic transaction data". We've had bank statements for as long as anyone can remember and they're already available on the web "in a machine readable format". The energy companies ditto. And the phone companies. And Amazon. And ...

Futile inanity
In short, BIS want the order-making power to force companies to do something that they're already doing.

They're holding a number of open forums as part of the midata consultation process. Anyone can go. It's easy. As BIS say, "... please email to attend".

Anyone who can get along to the 4 and 6 September 2012 sessions may care to ask BIS what the difference is between midata and futile inanity.

Cribsheet – deregulation
By taking powers to make companies do something it may seem that midata increases the regulatory burden on UK business. Nothing could be further from the truth. As BIS tell us (para.4, p.11):
Increased data transparency and greater consumer choice will help promote innovation and competition and could also have a deregulatory effect. By giving people access to their data in a format which is machine readable it may be possible to avoid the need for some types of regulation, for example, specifying product characteristics.

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