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Virginmoney calls for code on aggregation

Virginmoney.com is leading calls for a voluntary code on account aggregation amid regulatory concerns that such services may be illegal.

The move follows the publication last week of the FSA&#39s discussion paper on the regulation of e-commerce, which warns providers not to sign up to any aggregation service that may see them fall foul of the law.

Account aggregation is a service which allows people to combine all their online accounts on one website under one password.

The most common form of aggregation is a method called screen-scraping, which requires the user to disclose all the passwords for their accounts to a third party. The aggregator then “scrapes” all the user&#39s account information from the various providers&#39 websites each night.

However, screen-scraping is currently illegal in the UK under the terms of the Computer Misuse Act. There is also some implication that it may be illegal under the Data Protection Act.

Virginmoney is encouraging the industry to sign a document which permits screen-scraping activities. Once the legal issues have been sorted out, Virginmoney intends to launch its own aggregation service, V-safe. It is thought to have already secured a deal with either of aggregation software developers Yodlee or Corillian.

Virginmoney managing director Peter Pester says: “To succeed here, clear principles for responsible aggregation need to be set out. The financial services industry needs to establish a body that will oversee a voluntary code, to which everyone is signed up, so that the service can be established as quickly as possible.

“We need the highest levels of security and we urgently need to clear up any confusion that surrounds the data protection laws.”

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