UK supermarket Tesco sells personal data

By EDRi · September 21, 2005

The Guardian reports about a new daughter-company of the UK Supermarket
chain Tesco, that is selling very detailed information about every
household and every person in the UK to the highest bidder. The database
called Crucible contains “A map of personality, travel habits, shopping
preferences and even how charitable and eco-friendly you are.” And even if
you don’t shop at Tesco’s, by combining data about for example magazine
subscriptions from other sources such as Experian, Claritas and Equifax,
the company has, in its own words collected a “massive pool” of consumer
data. The company also uses government information, such as the electoral
roll, which contains names, ages and housing information.

The two reporters from the Guardian started with an information request,
on data collected by the company through the Clubcard (the Tesco loyalty
system). Only after a 4 months battle and a formal appeal to the
Information Commissioner a reporter got her personal data. Though she
provided as little information about herself as possible when applying for
the Club Card, after 1 year Tesco had 2 pages of information on her and
her specific shopping behaviour.

Tesco said its Clubcard was completely compliant with the data protection
act and Tesco itself did not sell data about individual shoppers to third
parties, only on an aggregated level.

Tesco stocks up on inside knowledge of shoppers’ lives (20.09.2005),3604,1573821,00.html