Saturday 8 September 2012

midata, the loneliest initiative in Whitehall – 11

Unable to make its case,
BIS's response
– to legislate to make midata compulsory –
is unprincipled.

Lonely old midata, not a single organisation is known to have hitched their wagon to it since 3 November 2011.

Extracts from the midata company briefing pack
July 2012
This data enabled world has been referred1 to as the third industrial revolution – where the size of the IT industry will be increasingly dwarfed by complementary information-enabled innovations throughout the economy. A recent report has estimated the size of the UK market for personal information at £20bn by 20202 ...

1 MIT economist Erik Brynjolfsson
2 The new Personal Communication model: The rise of Volunteered Personal Information, Ctrl-Shift

In the UK, the Information Commissioner stated in January 2011 that 80% of individuals are now concerned about protecting their personal data online,6 and research from Mydex showed that 76% believe their personal information has significant commercial value.7 ...

7 Available from Mydex to project sponsors.

Under this 'subscribe to me' approach to My Details9, the benefits to both sides multiply greatly. Individuals have a single convenient 'dashboard', which remains under their own control, where they can undertake core relationship management tasks quickly and simply ...

9 A working prototype of a personal data store-based ‘subscribe to me’ service was tested in the Mydex Community Prototype in early 2011

The EU is working on a commitment to equip Europeans with secure online access to their medical data.15 The House of Commons Public Administration Select Committee is endorsing the need to experiment with services that help “citizens maintain their own personal data”.16 The Cabinet Office is working on an ID Assurance framework for the UK17 ...

Empowering individuals to control and manage their own data is changing the consumer /personal data environment in two important ways. Firstly, it is creating what the World Economic Forum is calling a 'new asset class': "a valuable resource for the 21st century that will touch all aspects of society".20 Secondly, it is creating opportunities for 'win-win' trust-based information-sharing relationships between organisations and customers, where the routine sharing of structured information between the two parties becomes the norm. This information sharing may include previously untapped dimensions of personal data such as 'changes to my circumstances', 'my current priorities and preferences', and 'my future plans'21 ...

16 “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.” House of Commons Public Administration Select Committee’s report on Government’s use of IT
20 World Economic Forum, 2011 Personal Data: The Emergence of a New Asset Class
21 Mydex, 2010 The Case for Personal Information Empowerment

How big is this market for personal information management services (PIMS)?
It could be huge27 ...

27 According to Ctrl-Shift’s research, the market for Volunteered Personal Information (VPI)
will be worth £20bn in the UK by 2020. The World Economic Forum’s report 'Personal Data – The Emergence of a New Asset Class' describes personal data as 'the new oil', a key resource for 21st economies.
If you are a supplier of goods or services and if you hitch your wagon to midata, the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) will send you a copy of the midata company briefing pack, wherein you will read about the exciting new "data-enabled" world, please see extracts opposite.

Wagon-hitching requires a convincing argument with independent supporting evidence and a measure of openness.

The evidence in support of midata comes, in many cases, from Mydex and Ctrl-Shift:
  • BIS is a fee-paying client of Ctrl-Shift
  • Ctrl-Shift has one shared director with Mydex and has had two
  • Ctrl-Shift recommends the products of Mydex
  • Mydex is partly funded by the Technology Strategy Board and as they tell us on their website "the activities of the Technology Strategy Board are jointly supported and funded by BIS and other government departments ..."
  • and the chairman of Mydex sits on the midata strategy board at BIS.
BIS is paying a consultancy to say something and then presenting it as independent advice. It's incestuous and circular.

There is a lack of independence here and a lack of openness. Ctrl-Shift do not acknowledge in their reports that they share directors with Mydex and BIS do not acknowledge either that, or the fact that they, too, share directors with Mydex.

Perhaps more companies would join BIS's midata initiative if there were better arguments in favour of personal information management systems like Mydex, if there was some independent research and if BIS and its minions were more open about their cross-pollination.

Absent that, it seems commercially prudent for suppliers to avoid midata. And they have.

Unable to make its case and get suppliers to sign up voluntarily, BIS's response – to legislate to make midata compulsory – is unprincipled.

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