I am very pleased to see PASA’s online guide to countering online fraud.
In writing that sentence I hope to explain my dilemma as someone promoting data sharing and promoting pensions.
If fraud stops us sharing information, fraud has won and why I support PASA is that their approach is to ensure fraud doesn’t happen because the standards of data security have improved.
The alternative approach, which is retrogressive and dangerous, is to deny people the right to digital information about themselves. I have seen evidence of this in attempts to slow down development of digital pension statements and the pensions dashboard.
Putting a lid on data sharing leads to frustration, people will look for information where they can google it and typically they will find help at hand from lead generators , only too happy to pass your details to whoever will pay for them. Unsurprisingly, this is where the problems are most acute.
Closing pensions is not the answer
My worry extends to the practice of screen-scraping where data is captured by a variety of means but typically by opportunistic use of what the rules allow. This is not the same as consensual data flows using authorised APIs and agreed security protocols. While most screen scraping is harmless, some has and will lead to security breaches which give fraudsters their own opportunity.
The answer to this problem is not to ban screen-scraping , but to encourage the proper use of APIs and the consensual free flow of data we can call open pensions.
This will not happen overnight, indeed it is arriving way behind time. The banking and payments sectors are ahead of pensions to a degree that pensions is now looking embarrassingly old-fashioned.
We need to embrace , adopt and promote open pensions as a means of stopping fraud.
PASA’s guide presents us with a way to ensure our and our client’s data is secure. Alongside putting our house in order, we must look at ways to create safe and efficient means of sharing data and making financial payments that accord with the principles of open finance.
We cannot make digitization the enemy, it is the way forward. We must make sure we move forward at speed and safely, that is what open finance is about.