The UK’s ICO supports a single customer view approach in consultation response

The UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has come out in support of efforts to build a single customer view, which will see data on an individuals’ spending shared between businesses to reduce potential harms.

The Information Commissioner’s Office is the UK’s regulatory body for data protection issues.

ICO back single customer view

The ICO’s support for a single customer view came in a statement from the ICO made in response to a consultation from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) over the future of the UK’s data policy following the country’s exit from the European Union.

The consultation included a section on “Innovative data sharing solutions,” which included systems where a business could use open banking to allow businesses to share customer data, similar to a single customer view.

The consultation asked questions about the entities that would be tasked with handling the shared data. Although it did not explicitly mention gambling in its response, the ICO said it would support the use of data-sharing to help businesses accurately assess customer risks.

In its response, the ICO said: “We support the Government’s intention to provide organisations with additional support in understanding risk and ensuring appropriate protections are applied. Approaches to new, innovative, and appropriate forms of data sharing are to be welcomed.”

The ICO also explained that shared data would be effective “where they enhance people’s rights and have the potential to address power imbalances between those holding large scale data sets and those seeking to use them.”

However, the ICO response said that more clarity is needed when it comes to who would be responsible for data protection in the system.

Gambling Commission comments

Alongside the ICO statement, the Gambling Commission revealed it had been working alongside the ICO to explore the challenges associated with achieving a ‘single customer view’.

Back in February 2020, the Commission challenged the online gambling industry to explore a single customer view that could allow for a holistic view of a customer’s online gambling behaviour and help reduce gambling harms.

Tim Miller, Executive Director at the Gambling Commission said: “We welcomed the early commitment we received from gambling companies and their trade body to develop and trial a solution. However, we also recognised the questions that existed on how this could be achieved in a way that complied with data protection law. That is why we partnered with the Information Commissioner at an early stage and are pleased that they have been able to provide assurances that requirements on data protection need not be a barrier to making progress.”

Gambling Minister Chris Philp said: “We are determined to tackle problem gambling and we are undertaking a comprehensive review of our gambling laws to ensure they are fit for the digital age.

“I welcome the Information Commissioner’s Office findings that data can be shared safely and securely between operators to prevent problem gamblers running up crippling losses. It is essential that more action is taken to prevent people becoming dangerously addicted to gambling to the point that lives can be ruined.

“This is an important step towards protecting vulnerable people and operators must now come together to quickly deliver a meaningful solution.”