Your data is safe... honest

c: | f: Corporate / Government

The Data Protection Act in full effect.

A few years ago I went to a trade fair at London’s ExCeL conference centre. It was on Retail and Digital Signage because I’m just so exciting.

As usual with these events you register up-front and get a natty pass — on a lanyard plastered in sponsorhip — that other exhibitors can scan with a barcode reader if you show a glimmer of interest in their stand. For some exorbitant fee they can download this data and mailshot you.

As usual with these events I made damn sure to opt out of “We’d like to send you marketing information for events that may interest you” and “We’d like to share your details with carefully chosen partners”. I’m sly like that, knowing that “carefully chosen partners” is a euphemism for “anybody who’ll pay enough”.

As usual with these events I registered under my company’s name and address.

Spamalot

Imagine my surprise then, when today I received a mailshot inviting me to the Professional Beauty London 2010 show at the same venue. The irony being not because I’m in dire need of beauty, but that it was sent directly to my home address. As a final kicker I’m registered with the MPS so, asssuming ExCeL have a modicum of decency and subscribe to the list, they’d know I prefer to be omitted from their unsolicited mail drops.

Thus, not only was my information used to mailshot me against my wishes on two counts, somebody cross referenced my name from my place of work and somehow found my home address and thought it would be in their interests to spam me here. Go data protection, go!

And people wonder why I think a government storing my biometric data and selling it to anyone who’ll pay enough is a bad idea.

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