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Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Porting Midata Seems Simple Enough

LinkedIn (and have demonstrated how easy it can be to transfer your transaction data from one service or application to another. This should be of interest to anyone interested in Midata.

LinkedIn recently took the decision to replace the function which allowed you to add third party applications to your LinkedIn profile with the ability to add direct links material hosted elsewhere. It appears that the third party applications had been necessary to enable the storage and display of the material on the LinkedIn platform. Ending that third party application programme will mean all the data you've loaded for display via at least some of those applications will no longer be available on your profile. The data would need to be transferred from the LinkedIn platform to a third party's systems in order to display or use it in similar fashion.

Unfortunately, I missed any notification of this decision, and only went looking for information in the Help pages when I found I could no longer add a book to my "Amazon Reading List by Amazon" app. (a nice way of tracking interesting books you've read). That I missed the news was a bit strange, as I'm a frequent LinkedIn user with over 900 connections, so maybe the commuication of this decision and its implications could have been handled a little better. 

However, the instructions for obtaining and displaying my reading list data were simple enough, and I am now the proud owner of a profile on Shelfari, the literary network facilitated by, into which I have imported my data from the application on LinkedIn.

Whether I can then display a list of books I've read to my followers on LinkedIn is a matter for LinkedIn. But it did seem that the updates to the reading list, rather than the list itself, was what sparked comment and discussion.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Midata Thoughts No. 2

I attended a meeting of the midata Transmission working group this week, which reviewed a set of scenarios based on those described in my previous post on this topic. I've updated my legal presentation by way of an overall summary, and will embed it below shortly. The working group scenarios are likely to go into a bit more detail and involve additional sub-scenarios. I assume they will be available once they have been reviewed by all the working groups and are considered in final form - possibly as part of a final report.

In essence, our discussion this week focused on: 
  • clarifying the likely use-cases and consumer/small business benefit: the first few scenarios reflect how midata currently flows (e.g. release of current account data via online banking) which we agree is not terribly consumer friendly. The later scenarios reflect a more likely outcome, as new analytical and 'dynamic switching' services arise, for example, or as consumers begin to negotiate specific products or pricing (whether alone or in collaboration with others); and
  • differentiating the various types of services that may be offered by new intermediaries (previously called 'personal information managers')
  •  Midata Store: this service would only involve the provider acting as a reasonably passive repository of midata on the Customer's behalf, (e.g. merely holding it, or displaying and/or transmitting it without any alteration) could be called, say, a "Midata Store". It was also considered necessary to distinguish between a Midata Store that only receives midata from the Customer, and one that receives midata directly from a Current Supplier via a direct interface ("Linked Midata Store");
  •  Midata Service Provider: this type of service would involves the receipt of midata on the Customer's behalf for the purpose of analysis, combining that data with other data and/or producing some kind of reliable result for the purpose of negotiating with Current Supplier or Third Party Supplier would involve processing on a greater scale.  This would clearly involve more technological (as well as contractual and co-regulatory) safeguards.
It was considered that Midata Stores and Midata Service Providers are likely to evolve their own specific technology/transmission standards and self-regulatory codes quite quickly, in addition to any trnsmission guidelines etc produced by the Midata programme. However, it would be difficult to mandate the creation of a specific trade body or related code at this point.

The next meeting I am due to attend is a meeting of the legal and regulatory working group at the end of this month.

EC Sunlight On Shadow Banking

The European Commission has published a summary of responses to its consultation on shadow banking (basically credit intermediation by non-banks - largely securitisation). The Commission concludes that:
"The analysis of comments received suggests that there is support for regulatory measures in the EU subject to key principles, i.e. they have to improve financial stability, they are proportionate, they reduce regulatory arbitrage, they reflect the global characteristics of shadow banking, they improve transparency and they facilitate long-term growth."
The point about regulatory arbitrage is key. Not only should differences between member state frameworks be eliminated, but the regulated sphere of activity also needs to take account of activities and developing financial services that are not regulated.

While it's encouraging to see the EC finally working out how to close the stable door, albeit long after the occupant decamped, it's disappointing that the review did not look at peer-to-peer lending, a horizontal form of credit intermediation that avoids the need for securitisation altogether.

But I would say that, wouldn't I?