I just read an interview by TechDigest with one of the founders of Egg, the internet bank. It discusses the subject of who might have your personal data – things like your address, date of birth and name as well as other data that might be held by various companies.
In Britain, the Data Protection Act allows you to ask any company for the data they have on you and they have to respond to your request within 40 days. Tom Ilube, one of the founders of new company garlik, says “We decided to create a large-scale consumer-facing company that will help people understand what’s out there about them and how to manage it.” According to TechDigest:
Initially, this will boil down to a service that rounds up all the publicly-accessible data on a person, including their credit file, but also the records kept by private companies.
This all strikes me as very useful. I’m only 22 and just out of university, but I’ve been hanging out online for about 7 years and in that time I’ve done a fair amount of buying stuff online and signing up for websites and things. Not only that, but I shop in regular stores too! Now, I don’t have a credit card because I’m not yet entirely comfortable with spending money that I don’t already have – but I’m sure various companies must have information on me from my limited dealings with banks and building societies. Add to that various competitions I’ve entered over the years and there could be loads of companies that have my personal data, even though I tick the boxes that say that my information can’t be passed on to other companies. It’s all very interesting and I’m curious to see who might have data about me.