Selling Personal Lives

The BBC reports that businesses are increasingly selling on personal details in order to boost their sales figures.Credit card information through to even sexual orientation disclosures were sold on to other companies with 60% of the firms surveyed accepting they had suffered security breaches in respect to storage of personal data.In 90% of these cases the firms had not informed customers of any security lapse.

I suppose this is nothing new. Way back when I used to advertise in the Yellow Pages I was aware that they sold on my details on to other firms. I was often deluged with telephone cold calling a few months before the new directory came out and these companies already had the details of the new advert to hand.

A short time ago the DVLA was discovered to be selling on car driver’s personal details and only stopped this once publicity surrounding this became adverse.

For many our personal details are a commodity to be bought & sold on the open market.

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One thought on “Selling Personal Lives

  1. One of the problems is that once unscrupulous firms start bombarding you with junk mail or emails, it’s difficult to get them to stop. I recently threatened to complain to a firm’s up-stream provider if he didn’t stop. That did the trick… this time.

    A company sending me catalogues promised to stop after an acidly-worded email but I received another one the other day.

    I am very careful with my email address but it still turns up on spams so the only possible conclusion is that it has been passed on (together with who knows what other information) to third parties without my consent and despite the assertion “We will not share your data with anyone else”. I have sufficient evidence to convince me that they do.

    The problem is made worse by the fact that most firms do not send out publicity material themselves. This is done by some semi-automated agency whose address you don’t have and who doesn’t care a hoot, anyway. If you complain to the firm, they promise to take you off the list but the agency takes no more notice of them than it does of you. So you go on being bombarded.

    We worry, rightly, about government prying into our lives and then losing the information it has collected about us but we ought to be equally worried about the information we share with shops and other businesses which, though given in confidence, is passed on. If you have ever consulted your credit rating, you will realize that someone, somewhere, is collecting and collating all these bits of information about you into a single picture.

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