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Midata proposals take shape

The Government has proposed an amendment to the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill, setting out its proposals for the implementation of the Midata strategy. The Midata project is designed to allow people to view, access and use their personal and transaction data in a way that is portable and secure. The Government hopes that this will provide consumers with greater insight into their own spending habits and enable them to improve their buying decisions.

If passed, the new legislation will enable the Secretary of State to issue regulations which will require suppliers to provide customers with their consumption and transactional data in a portable electronic format. The draft legislation enables the Secretary of State to issue regulations in relation to any business sector, although it specifically refers to five key sectors:

  •  gas;
  •  electricity;
  •  current accounts;
  •  credit cards; and
  •  mobile phones.

The Secretary of State may permit suppliers to charge for providing customers with their data, but the level of this charge will be capped at the actual cost to the supplier of complying. The proposals also set out provisional enforcement powers for the Information Commissioner, and potentially others, to issue enforceable compliance notices and to investigate breaches, including powers of entry, search, inspection and seizure.

The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill is currently in the report stage in the House of Lords. Once this stage has been completed, there will be a third reading in the House of Lords, then consideration of any necessary amendments in both Houses before the bill is given Royal Assent.

Government has indicated that if the five key industry sectors highlighted in the bill do not enable consumers to access transaction data through voluntary initiatives, it will use the new powers to compel them to do so.

This publication is intended for general guidance and represents our understanding of the relevant law and practice as at March 2013. Specific advice should be sought for specific cases; we cannot be held responsible for any action (or decision not to take action) made in reliance upon the content of this publication.

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