Kelly Tolhurst – 2019 Statement on Smart Data Consultation

Below is the text of the statement made by Kelly Tolhurst, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, in the House of Commons on 11 June 2019.

Today I will be placing a copy of a consultation document entitled: “Smart Data: Putting consumers in control of their data and enabling innovation” in the Libraries of both Houses. This outlines the conclusions of the Smart Data Review that was announced in the Modernising Consumer Markets Green Paper and consults on future action by the Government.

The consultation sets out our vision for an economy where consumers’ data works for them and not against them. Data needs to be smart: easily and instantly accessible to consumers and be able to be safely and securely transferred to third party services who can use this data to provide innovative services for consumers. This is what we mean by smart data.

The consultation focuses on introducing new smart data initiatives to improve consumer outcomes and promote innovation in regulated markets. The key proposals we are consulting on include:

Accelerating the development of innovative data-driven services through the establishment of a new cross-sectoral smart data function to support, manage and govern the delivery of smart data initiatives

Introducing an open communications initiative in the telecoms market to require communications businesses to provide consumers’ data to third party providers at the consumer’s request to increase switching and stimulate innovation

Establishing a vulnerable consumer challenge to encourage data-driven innovation to improve outcomes for vulnerable consumers

Introducing strong data protection requirements and a cross-sectoral approach to regulation of third-party providers using smart data to build trust and minimise burdens on business.

These initiatives build on the approach in open banking, which is enabling consumers to ask their bank to share their current account transaction data securely with third parties. We have seen an explosion of new services that seek to make life easier for consumers—for example, through bringing together their current accounts into one platform or finding new ways to help consumers build an accurate credit score.

As announced by the Prime Minister yesterday, we are also signalling our agreement with the recommendation of the digital competition expert panel’s recommendation to establish a new digital markets unit to promote, among other things, data mobility and data openness across all sectors. As we take forward proposals on smart data, we will work closely to co-ordinate and integrate the recommendations as appropriate.