This week in data – 9th August

Do you have a right to be forgotten?

That debate has dominated the social media space over the past decade. And now, the United Kingdom is giving its citizens an answer: yes.

As part of the European Union’s new General Data Protection Rules, UK citizens will be able to tell Facebook or other social networks which posts of theirs, if any, should be deleted.

Digital Minister Matt Hancock said the measure will “give consumers the confidence that their data is protected and those who misuse it will be held to account”.

The new data rules will also let parents and guardians give consent for the child’s data to be shared, along with expanding the definition of “personal data” to include IP addresses and cookies.

As The Guardian explains, these particular changes – which Prime Minister Theresa May promised during this year’s election campaign – go further than what was predicted. Now, users will be able to request all their social media posts be deleted, not just anything that was posted before they turned 18.

The new laws have another key goal: to make sure that data protection rules are robust after the UK leaves the European Union and maintain a “unhindered flow of data between the UK and the EU post-Brexit”.

With such a massive economy now allowing its users to delete their social media posts, the question remains” how long will other nations wait before giving their own citizens the same right to be forgotten and how will laws like this impact businesses beyond Facebook and Google.

In other news:

Convincing people to use government services online starts with getting digital identity right.

That’s the view of the head of Australia’s new Digital Transformation Agency, Gavin Slater, who says the government’s first priority should be creating infrastructure for a digital identity framework. But agencies can’t do it alone, Slater said.

“There’s no silver bullet to anything but all my head, heart, gut, tells me that if you want to significantly increase digital uptake and significantly improve the experience, we have to solve for digital identity,” he said.

Slater also listed four other priorities: creating a detailed roadmap for transformation, rapid improvement of platforms, creating innovation labs by working with private partners and conducting an audit of the government’s IT spending.

Meanwhile, Origin is unlocking electricity data for customers, releasing a bunch of new customised reports for customers to peruse.

The company has started a partnership with start-up Bidgely to break down energy use around the home, relating to heating, cooling, lighting, refrigeration, laundry, cooking, and entertainment. The data is combined with weather updates and some analysis as well to give people tailored updates and alerts.

The update comes as more energy retailers are empowering customers to drill into their own data to find opportunities to save money.

Worth a read:

EY has an interesting idea related to transport: let people subscribe to multiple transport services at once like a phone plan. But their most interesting proposal is a car ownership platform powered by Blockchain – EY filed for a patent in the UK last week.

People want their privacy, but they’re not willing to make small changes to protect it. That’s the finding of a new working paper by a senior fellow at Stanford, which concludes that even though people really want privacy they’re willing to give it up – even for something as straightforward as a free pizza.

Until next week.

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