Workshop highlights: Creating Sustainable Real Consent

Creating Sustainable Real Consent

On Monday 26 September the Personal Data & Trust Network supported the Consent Tech: Creating Sustainable Real Consent workshop, which was run by Mark Lizar from the Network’s consent working group, alongside a range of experts.

The event formed part of a series of workshops on Real Consent with ‘consent tech’ being a focus for this event, where experts and participants discussed what scalable and sustainable consent solutions looks like in the UK and beyond. Another big focus that emerged during the day was in relation to policy and regulation with much discussion about the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) as well as terminology (what actually is personal data, what do we mean by and how do we define transparency and anonymity?).

Here we share the presentations from the workshop, and Mark provides the key themes and gives an update about the Real Consent journey so far:

I have been sponsored by Kantara and the Open Consent Group to collaborate with the Digital Catapult. My objective is to get a collaboration among standards organisations in the consent tech space, then invite the PD&TN to get involved in an open scalable, competitive, consent tech and trust services market. As a result of the workshop series and collaborations taking place throughout 2016, we started an Open Consent tech summer project stream. The aim is to create open consent technology prototypes that can provide meaningful, relevant trust and consent between people and organisations at scale.

What do we mean by Open Consent?

Open Consent is a simple idea. What we mean is providing people with a standard personal data notice/record/receipt, and developing standard icons, so they can see and track how their information – their personal data – is used. It is envisioned that in the future people can then themselves give consent, and manage their digital identity and online profiles, autonomously by using an ‘open notice’.

The Open Consent Framework is the approach that we’re taking to operationalise standard notices with a trust framework. The framework is simply a notary function where trusted third-party organisations can register/generate their notices and in which additional layers of technology can be added to provide more-advanced and more trusted user functionality. For example, where users can withdraw consent or where dynamic consent can be implemented. What the trusted third-party organisations look like or whom they are comprised of is a conversation that we will have at our next event. Open Consent also aims to provide open and transparent standards so that innovation and a market in consent tech and trust can be created and evolve.

The Real Consent concept

Creating Sustainable Real Consent

Mark Lizar, Co-Chair of the consent working group

Real Consent is an initiative focused on both technology and policy, comprised of open standards, best practices, and most importantly, an aim of developing a collection of assets to address the current challenges around consent. The Real Consent thesis being the more transparency and trust, the more people are enabled and likely to share, collaborate and contribute.

The work we’ve been doing as part of the consent working group and growing the Real Consent concept has incited lots of interest and new approaches, which in turn has led to the development of a number of consent tech projects and activities. Since we started the Real Consent journey, we have assessed the gaps in consent tech, considered a ‘Consent By Design’ method, and helped Digital Catapult to develop their Personal Data Receipt, which is a new way to simplify the understanding of privacy policies and increase transparency in personal data practices. A collaborative paper was also submitted in response to a Consultation on Consent by the Canadian Government. Furthermore, my hackathon team Consent Gateway was a winner in the ‘wild card’ category at the MyData 2016 conference for our initiative in ‘building the interconnections to allow awesome consumer service journeys that start with consent’.

What’s next

The fifth and final event (date TBA but likely early 2017) will signal the end of the one-year challenge to develop an initial collection of Real Consent assets. In this last event the report and/or outputs of the Real Consent initiative will be provided. This will include an analysis of the effectiveness of Open Consent technology to achieve Real Consent, and further in-depth discussions about how innovators can develop Open Consent that is sustainable and operational at scale.

And in the mean time, read through the presentations from the 26 September Consent Tech: Creating Sustainable Real Consent workshop:

  • Digital Catapult implementation of Personal Data Receipts (Lead Technologist, Personal Data and Trust, Digital Catapult, Michele Nati) mnati_digicat-pdr_pdtn-260916
  • MyData 2016 conference – report and Consent Tech Hackathon Project (Technologist and Track Lead, MyData Architecture, Harri Honko @harrihonko) hhonko-mydata-consenttech-260916
  • Coalition – consent tech for behavioural data (Director, Coelition, Joss Langford @data2life) Awaiting
  • The OPC: Open Consent (Mark Lizar @smartopian) Awaiting
  • User-Managed Access (UMA) (specialist in Cloud security, privacy and trust, Maciej Machulak @mmachulak) Awaiting
  • Trust and verify framework (research associate and Professor of Law, Dr. Nicolo Zingales @TechJust) nzingales-consenttech-260916
  • Consent and dissent to personal data usage: case studies (Mathematician, Paul-Olivier Dehaye @podehaye) – please contact Paul for details
  • Consentua (Founder Directer KnowNow Information, Chris Cooper @knownowinfo) ccooper-consentua_intro-260916

Mark Lizar is Founding Director of  Smart Species, a consultancy focused on consent engineering and consulting, Co-Chair of the Consent & Information Sharing Work Group (CISWG) at the Kantara Initiative and Co-Chair of the consent working group for the Personal Data & Trust Network. You can connect with him at and @smartopian and follow the Real Consent initiative at