Blackmailing loyalty clubs flayed

‘Blackmailing’ loyalty clubs under fireA senior MP has launched a stinging attack on how retailers use loyalty card data, claiming that consumers are effectively being “blackmailed” into handing over their personal details to gain discounts.
Andrew Miller, chair of the Science & Technology Committee – which recently likened the T&Cs used by the likes of Facebook and Twitter to “engaging with Shakespeare” – said signing up for a loyalty card may be a choice for some, but is an “economic necessity” for others.
The Labour MP for Ellesmere Port and Neston told “If we chose not to have a store card because we don’t want Tesco to know how much gin we drink and we’re concerned they may share it with an improper third party, you and I can afford not to sign up for one of their store cards.
“For most of my constituents – not necessarily poor people, but people who work their socks off in industry and commerce in Ellesmere Port – the discounts offered by people like Tesco for signing up to their schemes are such that it’s not a question of choice, it’s an economic necessity to sign up to it.
“So that part of it worries me because in a sense people are blackmailed, sort of ‘sign up to my card or else’, and the ‘or else’ is you don’t get the discounts. People are being encouraged to share data in a way where they have no choice.”
He said if the data mined through loyalty cards was purely used for marketing purposes, there would not be a problem, but called for new restrictions to what companies should be able to do with the information.
“The key, I think, is in creating a model that has the maximum transparency so that if you hold information about me that you’re going to use, I ought to be entitled to see that information. I ought to have rights of determining some control over what is done with information about me.”

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