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DCMS launches research project into data portability

David Bicknell Published 18 January 2018

Department plans to begin project in February investigating likely gains to consumers and the economy of making data across various sectors and applications more easily portable


The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) appears to be stepping up its interest in data policy, specifically around data portability.

According to a tender notice issued by the department earlier this month for a £250,000 contract , DCMS is looking for analysis and practical research on data portability. 

It says it is commissioning research to assess the potential gains to consumers and the economy of making data across various sectors and applications more easily portable.

In particular, it says, it wants to gain a better understanding of the potential of data portability as a beneficial tool for consumers in a competitive market. It also wants to develop an example of how data portability that works for consumers and businesses might be practically achieved.

The research project will consists of two parts. The first sets out to increase the evidence base for considering the potential usefulness of data portability as a market-building tool. It will consider previous iterations of the portability principle in the UK and other EU countries and assess what lessons can be learned from them.

The second part seeks to apply the learning to the development of a tool and associated documentation.

DCMS says it has four broad objectives:

  • to highlight the potential benefits of portability, within the context of the data economy and the promotion of efficient use of data.
  • to identify and engage in sectors where portability initiatives have not yet been established and where portability could offer a particular benefit to both data controllers and data subjects.
  • to assess the role that government, regulators, industry and other stakeholders should take in supporting data portability, and
  • to develop a tool to demonstrate benefit through a practical application of the portability right, including documentation to allow other sectors to more efficiently considering how they could adopt a similar model.

The project is due to start on February 27 and run until April 23 with receipt of tenders or requests to participate expected by February 12.

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