The Pragmatist on data and new online marketplaces

Written by Simon Deane-Johns Monday, 28 January 2013 15:39
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From Simon's blog


I should begin this post by explaining that I'm involved in the Interoperability aspects of the midata programme. I was invited to participate on a voluntary basis and have no client in that process. I donate my time. I'm independent of the dozens of other participants. I didn't shoot JFK. And I don't even own a pet, let alone one I believe to be a reincarnation of Elvis Presley. 
The only conspiracy in which I might be accused of involvement is the mass collaboration by consumers known as Web 2.0, which has evolved into Web 3.0 using "linked data" that computers can read (aka "the semantic web").
Lots of information - including government data and data from online bank accounts - is now available in this format because it makes analysis so much easier. Analysing the data is necessary to convert it from being merely information into useful knowledge.
This is why the government is keen that banks, telecoms providers and big energy start making all your transaction details available to you in machine-readable form - if you want it. Gaining insight into your finances, communications and energy use will enable you to make better spending decisions and even negotiate new, bespoke products - if you want to do so.
In an explanatory post on the Which? website, Consumer Affairs Minister Jo Swinson sparked a number of comments by people who do not want to be empowered or have their consumer experience made more efficient.
They are happy to make their own product searches and to use price comparison services. Evidently, they are not concerned at the number of problemsdetected by the Office of Fair Trading in its work on the price comparison sector.
They also appear to believe that information security and privacy safeguards around existing transaction databases are adequate. I am not amongst them.
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Praise for Simon Deane-Johns
“Deane-Johns as The Pragmatist is worth his weight in White Papers on criminally overdue financial services reform and crystal clear thinking.

His blog is essential reading for all of us who want to see big, effective change for the better. Not just because he agrees with us, but because he explains precisely what needs to be done.  To have this wealth of invaluable observation, analysis and creative thinking brought together in one book is a godsend. That The Pragmatist is a gigging lawyer in the forefront of innovative businesses makes this work an even rarer and significant read.  We should all send a copy to Cameron, Osborne and Cable; there might be hope for UK financial services reform yet.”    

Martin Campbell, Director, Beacon Strategic Communications

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