Tweet I was planning to write a blog post about this anyway so that tweet turning up is highly serendipitous! There’s a lot going on in the government data space with the new Chief Data Office, Mike Bracken – Head of GDS, expected to make an announcement of his vision and initial strategy in the new few weeks. What this will mean for things like data.gov.uk, GDS’s proposed system of canonical government registers and the Open Data Maturity Model proposed out of the ODI & DEFRA remains to be seen but I have high hopes. While most of the conversations about government data are centered around opening up information, which is good and very important, I’m more interested in how personal data feeds into the machinery of state. What I would personally love to see would be a significant commitment to the principles of Vendor Relationship Management (VRM) both in terms of future support into government transactional services but also strongly encouraging the building of an ecosystem by both the established and start-up tech sectors in the UK. VRM is a system whereby individuals decide who they trust to hold information about them in a Personal Data Store and then allow limited access to specified people or organisations for well defined purposes. This could range from something as simple as one single place for your address feeding into many services so you only ever need to updated it in one place – all the way up to storing your medical details for interactions with the NHS, DWP, private data practitioners, etc. The initial obvious home for such PDSs seems, to me at least, to be the suppliers of the GDS Verify identity service with other companies coming on board later – perhaps as extended “attribute providers” mediated by a Verify login. Support on the government end would obviosuly be a lot of work in updating key, and often old, systems. This won’t happen soon – see the implementation time for Verify as an example. However, at this point even an statement of encouragement would be very powerful. If this was backed up by work in the government Data Standards Hub to define how some of these personal attributes could be exchanged then even better. I’m very much looking forward to seeing what’s announced.

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