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Government told to ensure responsible use of data

The Commons Science and Technology Committee has called on the UK government to find ways of ensuring that internet users can provide truly informed consent before any of their personal data are captured.

The committee published a report, Responsible Use of Data, on 28 November, following 32 written submissions of evidence from researchers in the field, universities and social-media organisations such as Facebook and Twitter. The committee also heard evidence on three occasions.

The government believes that data from social media may have the “potential to transform public and private-sector organisations” while driving R&D, the report says. But on the subject of whether or not users give informed consent before relinquishing their data, it says: “We are not convinced that users of online services are able to provide informed consent. The terms and conditions currently favoured by many organisations are lengthy and filled with jargon.” 

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