New smart data laws to give businesses more control of digital identity

A new law may give businesses greater control of customer data under proposals which the Government says will improve competition, and give customers more choice and lower prices.

Part of its wider National Data Strategy plans, the smart data initiative is similar to Open Banking, which provides a platform for users to share their data with trusted third parties.

Minister for small businesses and consumers, Paul Scully, says the plans are "revolutionary".

"Innovative businesses across the UK are already using smart data to find new solutions to age-old problems, revolutionising everything from invoicing through to automatic account switching," he explained. "It’s vital we harness this technology across the whole of our economy. The roll out of smart data into new sectors such as communications will help support even more cutting-edge start-ups and could boost businesses and consumers by a staggering £18 billion a year."

Jeni Tennison, vice-president and chief strategy adviser at the Open Data Institute, added: "Giving individuals and organisations access to data held about them by the services they use opens up possibilities for insight, innovation and empowerment.

"Regulators can be great enablers for smart data, promoting access, interoperability and trustworthy data practices, so it is great to see the government take another step to equip them to take on that role."

Business group, the CBI, was also enthusiastic about the proposals. Director of digital and innovation, Felicity Burch said: "Data underpins the modern economy and is essential to businesses in every sector from logistics to retail. It’s at the heart of global trade, competition, and innovation in areas from health to climate change.

“We welcome the National Data Strategy as a vital step for the UK be at the forefront of the data revolution. Lessons learnt in the coronavirus crisis must power our economic recovery -- crucially, unleashing the power of data in a way that commands trust and empowers people."

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