Buried away in an article on the Nintendo WII today in the Daily Telegraph, is the disturbing news that the Police are now able to monitor our activities through our usage of store loyalty cards like the Tesco Clubcard.
Detective Superintendent Paul Downing, deputy head of investigative and intelligence training at the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA), said,
"A Tesco clubcard can tell investigators where a person has been and what they have been buying. If we seize it from a suspect, we can ask Tesco for information that can be pertinent to the inquiry."
When I use a store loyalty card I usually expect it to provide me with discounts and special offers; what I don't expect is that it will store up my buying habits, movements and general details, which can then be handed over to the police at their behest.
This is just the latest evidence that the lines between data held by private companies and that which can be used by the police are becoming increasingly blurred.
By Dylan Sharpe