Have you got a store card?

I don’t, never had. I remember the first cards coming out in the UK about 15 years ago, Sainsburys, Tescos. The buzz words were ‘data warehousing’. I didn’t want my buying habits stored in some database somewhere for someone to data-mine my life!

I am not completely honest in saying I’ve had no store cards, I have, well sort of. Every couple of years I have a moment of weakness…. would be so nice to be invited to the first day of sales in my favourite boutique. I filled an application out for a store card a couple of months ago, gave them my personal details, they sent me the card, and then -the moment of weakness passed- I did the same as what I’ve done every other time, cut it up and threw it in the bin.

Why do I do this? After all we have the Data Protection Act here in the EU. Our information is safe…… or at least that is what we think. I was so glad that I held my stance on the use of store cards when I listened to Meireille Hildebrandt -at LSE- earlier this week , a lawyer who has linked her expertise with a subject domain called ‘profiling’.

Profiling is ‘data-mining’ and finding pattern recognition. The challenge is -given the amount of information collected on each of us- is distinguishing the noise from the information. Profiling is an vast area and I will write something more about this when I get back from a week’s skiing in the North of Sweden. So watch this space……