Digital Privacy

What do businesses know about you?

Matt Mower has made a pledge on Pledgebank to write to a supplier – say a mobile phone company – to ask them what they know about him, as per the Data Protection Act, but he needs more people to sign up. The pledge in full:

“I will perform a Subject Access Request (Data Protection Act 1998) to find out what one of my suppliers knows about me but only if 19 other people will too.”

— Matt Mower, Product Manager at PAOGA Ltd.

Deadline to sign up by: 24th July 2006 1 person has signed up, 18 more needed

Country: United Kingdom

More details We all know that suppliers hold a lot of information about us and that many of them are careless with it, misuse it, and don’t bother to check whether it’s correct or keep it up to date. This can have serious negative consequences on our lives and is likely to continue until we take action and do something about it. 

A good start is for us to find out what our suppliers think they know about us and how they are using our data. The Data Protection Act (1998) provides a way for us to do this called a Subject Access Request. It’s pretty easy to do (essentially just writing a letter) and should cost no more than £10. 
 You can find more information about the DPA and making Subject Access Requests at the Information Commissioners website, for example:

“Your Information Rights” (…) “How to Access Information” (…)

If this pledge is successful I will make a subject access request on one of my suppliers (e.g. my cell phone provider) and then blog about the process. I’d encourage everyone who takes the pledge, if they can, to write about their experiences too.