Call for agreement to end ‘data war’

Urgent action is needed to end public suspicion of data sharing with public bodies, according to BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT.

David Evans, director of policy at the institute says that arrangements around the sharing of personal data is not currently working, creating a “ticking time bomb”.

He said that the UK – because of its attitude to data sharing – is in an ideal position to create an industry based around individual citizen data accounts, which they can choose to share with businesses and public bodies.

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Speaking to, Evans said: “In government, people know they need to take data, but they don’t currently have an effective system where they can ask for it.

“Most people don’t have an issue with sharing data with government bodies if it helps them directly. What they don’t like is that data being taken carte blanche.”

He called on an end to the current perceived polarisation of choice between not participating in modern life or submitting to government and corporate whims and mistakes.

Evans said personal data accounts could be run by private firms to store data on citizens, and people could either opt in or opt out from sharing it with different organisations. He said that the GDS Verify system of identification for government websites was “highly philosophically compatible” with his vision.

The idea would also save councils from having to amalgamate and store large amounts of information for long periods, he said.

“We need a public private partnership and a new settlement around data to solve these things,” he concluded.

Colin Marrs

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