Forget celebs and super injunctions, I’m talking about your right to privacy. None of us have to put up with junk mail and unwanted sales pitches sent to our mobiles – all we have to do is opt-out.
What makes this worse is that I don’t earn a penny from having my details passed around major retailers. Retailers that then decide to hit me with ads for anything from grass feed (why? I hate gardening) to personalised number plates.
Someone’s making a mint out of this, otherwise they wouldn’t bother. And it isn’t me.
The law’s on your side
The law’s clear on this, under the Privacy and Electronic Communications regulations, firms must offer you the chance to opt out of in-house marketing and opt in to third party marketing.
If you wantonly ignore these tick boxes and don’t read whether you’re opting in or out, you risk your details being used by the retailer to launch endless missiles at you.
You might question what the actual damage is. Well, consider this; say you live in a particular part of town and use your supermarket loyalty card whenever you go shopping. On that loyalty card is your age (35), that you like a glass of wine and smoke.
The supermarket can then sell your details to a major insurer, immediately pumping up the life insurance premiums for anyone who’s over 35, drinks and smokes in your postcode.
No such thing as a free ride
You get nothing for free. So check those privacy policies – the savings you make by opting out could prove far more than a discount voucher for your next box of cornflakes. Commenter Henry agrees, replying to Ben Steven’s Conversation on whether it’s mad to trade your data for an online discount:
‘Perhaps with the exception of your sex life, [personal data] is your most precious commodity. Don’t give/trade it away. Just look around you; how many industries have either sprouted or grown since they have started demanding more and more personal data to do anything online.’
If you’re savvy you can search for companies that will pay you for your information, meaning you’ll get marketing on products you’re interested in, rather than what the commercial manager at some company wants to flog that week. Sounds like a plan to me, what do you think?