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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

65 a golden age strike a contract with companies. In return for receiving something of value, they are prepared to sacrifice personal information. For example, Google's email users are prepared to tolerate targeted advertising surrounding their in- box, in return for a free email service with unlimited memory space. Similarly, the 16- 24- year-old customers of Blyk, a new mobile network, are prepared to receive three to four personalised ads a day on their mobile, in return for a free service. The ad- funded mobile network has over 100,000 users and Blyk says its users don't find the ads irritating because they're so targeted. However, most social networkers are arguably not aware of the commercial undercurrent of peer- to- peer websites like Facebook, who are under increasing pressure to generate revenues. This became clear in 2007 when Facebook launched a controversial ad system called Beacon that broadcast its users' web behaviour to his or her ' friends' even when they were outside the social network. Privacy groups and Facebook users were outraged and the social network was forced to climb down. In the future, businesses will be expected to be transparent about the way they use their customer data. Compared to the wealth of information online, loyalty programmes like Tesco Clubcard are incredibly innocuous. As dunnhumby's Mick Yates points out: " Once people have filled in the form we never go back and check it, we don't need to. We don't need to know about their family life, we're not that intrusive. We just look at what they're buying which is an objective fact. And then to thank them for helping Tesco do a better job we send them rewards." A number of different journalists writing stories on the success of Tesco Clubcard have been surprised by the scant amount of personal information held by the retailer on its customers. dunnhumby's sophisticated analysis enables retailers to personalise their offering without infringing their customers' privacy. Elizabeth Rigby, Financial Times journalist writes: " Two letters, a photocopy of his passport, a letter showing proof of address and a £ 10 administrative charge later. Tesco dispatched my father's data. At 16 pages long, it is bare on detail. It lists all his store visits... and the amount he has spent. It also details the points he has earned... Tesco has not updated the information since he joined the scheme in 1994." We don't need to know about their family life, we're not that intrusive