Developer FAQs

What data has been collected in the lab?

The personal data that we have asked for is focused on a few key areas: personal information including vehicle and property data, transactional banking and credit records, mobile, phone, broadband and TV billing information and utility bills.

Other data sets may be added over time. Feedback from developers on what data they would find helpful to have included will be key to this.

Please note that when we refer to personal data and associated terms, we are using the definitions for such provided by ss.1(1) and 2 Data Protection Act 1998.

Are all the data sets complete?

The data sets are not 100% complete. This is because we have encouraged our volunteer data donors to only add the information that they felt comfortable including in the personal data store.

Having said that most of the data donors have completed the base data – and some of the more detailed information (like bank account records) is being added as we speak.

Is there a deadline that has been given to data donors to complete their data input?

No, but we are encouraging all current data donors to complete their input remotely and the number of data donors is being added to all the time.

Are you asking founding partners who hold data to add this data to the mIL?

Not at this stage.

Will the mIL be aggregating the data that has been collected in the lab?

No. The mIL is about investigating how personal data is linked together, not about trends or aggregation of data.

Will I be able to access aggregated data from the mIL?

No.

How do I access the data in the lab?

You can request to join the developers club at http://midatalab.org.uk. Look for the Developers link.

How long will I be given access for?

Until the mIL stops. We are currently running the mIL until mid September, but we will continue to run it as long as we see benefit.

Can I store the data that I have been given access to?

No. Data is stored within the mIL. You are allowed to copy the data temporarily for the purpose of showing it or using it in an app, but it must not be stored permanently outside of the mIL.

Will I be given permission to see all the data in the mIL or will it be limited to either certain data sets or particular donors?

You will get access to all data held in the mIL. Dependent on your application additional data might be provided. An example would be if you developed an app that (for example) dealt with football clubs and you could request for donors to fill in their favourite football clubs.

What is the audit process for data access?

This will be explained once you have applied to join the developers club and your application is successful.

Am I personally accountable for the data that I access through the mIL or is it my employer?

The terms of the Data Protection Act 1998 are relevant here. You will be given guidance on how this affects you once you join the developers club.

What responsibility does the Personal Data Store have in relation to the use of the data within the mIL?

They are responsible under the Data Protection Act 1998 to keep the data secure and allow its use only as directed by consumers.

Will independent developers be given the opportunity to access the data in the mIL?

Absolutely. We are keen to involve independent developers who have good ideas about how to use the data to build innovative consumer tools and applications.

What selection process does an independent developer have to go through?

As the mIL contains sensitive personal data, we need to ensure that all developers accessing it understand their responsibilities under the law and are accessing it solely with the intent of working on ideas that will provide value to consumers. As such, all developers granted access will need to a) provide an outline of why they want access, and b) sign up to a set of terms of conditions. To help reinforce the right spirit of participation, we also expect all developers to donate their own data to the lab.

How long does that process take?

We expect to provide all applicants with a decision within ten days.

Are independent developers legally responsible for the handling of the data they access?

Developers accessing the lab will usually be acting as data processors under the Data Protection Act. More guidance on this will be given once you are accepted into the Developers Club

Can I combine the data in the mIL with other Open Data?

Absolutely! Some of the most interesting and useful applications of personal data will come when it is combined with Open Data. There are thousands of Open Data sets out there, relating to everything from maps to train times to property prices to crime rates. data.gov.uk alone has nearly ten thousand! We’d encourage you to make use of them as widely as possible, subject to any existing legal restrictions on the use of certain data.

Will the mIL team help me use Open Data to build applications?

Yes, just ask. We can help point you in the direction of useful datasets for the applications you want to build, can provide advice on how best to integrate them, and help access those datasets that require OpenData Licences.

As a starter, this wiki provides some basic advice on some of the key reference Open Datasets:

https://github.com/theodi/shared/wiki/Finding-Open-Data

Furthermore, the Open Data Institute (http://www.theodi.org/) helps make the case for new data sets to be opened up where appropriate. If there is a particular dataset that is currently not available to developers, that you think could provide value to citizens and consumers, then we’d love to hear about it.

How do I become involved in the social good strand?

Please contact the lead of the strand who is Paul Owen of BBC. paul.owen-fm@bbc.co.uk.

What sort of areas do you expect the social good strand will look at?

It’s best to contact Paul Owen paul.owen-fm@bbc.co.uk to check on progress and contribute ideas.

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