The UK’s Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) has launched a consultation on proposals to compel suppliers of goods and services to provide consumers access, upon request, to their personal transaction and consumption data in an open standard machine-readable format.  The UK Government (UKG) would prefer that the data be supplied at no cost and may also allow certain categories of small businesses to make such requests.  An existing enforcement body — possibly the Information Commissioner’s Office or a consumer protection body — is likely to be responsible for enforcing the proposed new requirement.

The consultation document explains that the proposed new requirement would offer a more targeted approach towards access to personal data than is currently available under the UK Data Protection Act 1998.  The requirement would:

  • only relate to transaction data regarding a consumer’s purchase/consumption of products and services from that supplier;
  • only cover factual information, for example what a consumer bought, where they bought it, and how much they paid for it;
  • not cover any subsequent analysis that the data holder has undertaken on the information; and
  • only apply to businesses that already hold this information electronically.  Businesses would not be required to collect any new information and existing information would only have to be released if requested by consumers. 

Following the European Commission’s proposals to reform the EU Data Protection Framework (see here and here), which also included a controversial data portability element, industry is likely to pay close attention to this UK initiative.

The closing date to respond to the consultation is 10 September 2012.  Interested parties may also join Open Forums discussing the consultation at the BIS Offices on August 9 (3-5pm), 16 (3.30-5.30pm) and 23 (3-5pm) by contacting

Further information 

The consultation is part of UKG’s consumer empowerment strategy, “Better Choices: Better Deals”, which was launched last year.  The “midata” project, which is part of this strategy, aims to give consumers more control and access to their personal data.  UKG’s main objectives upon launch of “midata” were to: 

  • secure broad private-sector participation in the project, with a key number of businesses agreeing to release individual, personal data to consumers;
  • let consumers access and use their data in a safe way; and
  • encourage businesses to develop innovative services and applications that will interpret and use the data for consumers. 

UKG describes the initiative as consistent with its broader focus on “transparency and open data”, which it hopes will contribute to economic growth by enabling consumers to make better informed decisions and allowing businesses to provide innovative services.  Until now participation in the project had been on a voluntary basis, with 19 major brands, including Google, MasterCard, Visa and others signing up last year.  The current proposal would build upon this and introduce an order making power to implement UKG’s midata vision.


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Photo of Mark Young Mark Young

Mark Young, an experienced tech regulatory lawyer, advises major global companies on their most challenging data privacy compliance matters and investigations.

Mark also leads on EMEA cybersecurity matters at the firm. He advises on evolving cyber-related regulations, and helps clients respond to…

Mark Young, an experienced tech regulatory lawyer, advises major global companies on their most challenging data privacy compliance matters and investigations.

Mark also leads on EMEA cybersecurity matters at the firm. He advises on evolving cyber-related regulations, and helps clients respond to incidents, including personal data breaches, IP and trade secret theft, ransomware, insider threats, and state-sponsored attacks.

Mark has been recognized in Chambers UK for several years as “a trusted adviser – practical, results-oriented and an expert in the field;” “fast, thorough and responsive;” “extremely pragmatic in advice on risk;” and having “great insight into the regulators.”

Drawing on over 15 years of experience advising global companies on a variety of tech regulatory matters, Mark specializes in:

  • Advising on potential exposure under GDPR and international data privacy laws in relation to innovative products and services that involve cutting-edge technology (e.g., AI, biometric data, Internet-enabled devices, etc.).
  • Providing practical guidance on novel uses of personal data, responding to individuals exercising rights, and data transfers, including advising on Binding Corporate Rules (BCRs) and compliance challenges following Brexit and Schrems II.
    Helping clients respond to investigations by data protection regulators in the UK, EU and globally, and advising on potential follow-on litigation risks.
  • GDPR and international data privacy compliance for life sciences companies in relation to:
    clinical trials and pharmacovigilance;

    • digital health products and services; and
    • marketing programs.
    • International conflict of law issues relating to white collar investigations and data privacy compliance.
  • Cybersecurity issues, including:
    • best practices to protect business-critical information and comply with national and sector-specific regulation;
      preparing for and responding to cyber-based attacks and internal threats to networks and information, including training for board members;
    • supervising technical investigations; advising on PR, engagement with law enforcement and government agencies, notification obligations and other legal risks; and representing clients before regulators around the world; and
    • advising on emerging regulations, including during the legislative process.
  • Advising clients on risks and potential liabilities in relation to corporate transactions, especially involving companies that process significant volumes of personal data (e.g., in the adtech, digital identity/anti-fraud, and social network sectors.)
  • Providing strategic advice and advocacy on a range of EU technology law reform issues including data privacy, cybersecurity, ecommerce, eID and trust services, and software-related proposals.
  • Representing clients in connection with references to the Court of Justice of the EU.