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63 this with customer data. The challenge in the future will be linking the technological advances with an ability to collect meaningful data. Rufus believes that consumers will choose the level of security they require for different payments. For example, small purchases under £ 10 will simply require a ' wave and pay' from their mobile device, £ 10-£ 100 purchases will need a fingerprint scan, spending over £ 100 might require the confirmation of identity through a digital photograph, while a very large purchase would need the strictest security checks like a combination of PIN and biometrics. Electronic footprints There is a tidal wave of customer data. We're only at the beginning of the process where everything we consume, whether it be goods, services, entertainment or finances, will create a digital trail. Once you've got a digital trail, you've got data. Once you've got data, you could have insight. Marketing specialist, Alan Mitchell has written about customer data being ' the new oil.' He argues that oil was a supremely valuable resource, but extracting, refining and distributing it posed major challenges. " Customer data is no different. Actually using the data internally to best effect is one major challenge." Responsible companies like our clients are ensuring data is being used to improve their customers' experiences. We inevitably leave a trail of data behind us as we get on with our everyday lives, and it's crucial that those companies who analyse the data do so for the greater good of their customers. It's the only sustainable, responsible way to do business. So what does the day in the life of an electronic footprint look like? If you drive to work, your car will undoubtedly pass a number of automatic number plate recognition cameras during the journey. If you're in a rush, you'll be clocked by a speed camera. Meanwhile your mobile phone will be transmitting your location to your mobile network operator. If you buy petrol on your credit or debit card, the transaction will be logged by your bank. Perhaps you'll send an email or visit a website on your BlackBerry while sitting in traffic. Before arriving at work you'll pop into Kroger and buy some fruit and sandwiches using your Kroger Plus card to earn some points. a golden age

64 At your desk, before starting the day's work, you'll quickly search for cheap flights, letting Google know you want to book a holiday. Then you'll log on to your favourite news site, revealing what stories and issues interest you most. Then quickly, you'll update your status on Facebook, letting your friends know that ' today I am hungover...' And so it goes on, and the day has not even properly begun. Being protective The British Government's Information Commissioner Office, which was established to help individuals protect their personal information, correctly states that most of the personal information stored on individuals will provide benefits, ' like better medical care and financial reassurance.' It also warns citizens to protect their personal ID from identity fraud. People are becoming increasingly aware that their data is being stored and interpreted by different companies. Unfortunately, some organisations fail to make it clear to their customers. People were understandably stunned when AOL released 600,000 records of their user's searches by accident onto the internet. Before that moment, many online users had no idea that search engines keep a record of every search their users make. We believe it's crucial for companies to be responsible and transparent about the data they hold and the benefits they offer in return. It's a contract. If customers cannot see the benefit of data about their behaviour being analysed, then we believe they will choose not to allow it to be used - and we agree with them. Social lives The rise and rise of social networking through websites like Facebook, MySpace and Bebo has caused some calls for concern around the amount of personal information, young people especially, broadcast to the worldwide web. A report by the Information Commissioner's Office in 2007 warned young people against broadcasting too loudly. Its research discovered that one in 10 young people puts their home address on social networking sites and 60% post their date of birth. So what does the Facebook generation think about customer data? It's difficult to say, but it certainly seems as if they are prepared to any colour you like as long as it's any colour you like