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OFT to investigate use of personal data by retail companies

The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has today announced an investigation into the UK online retail arena with specific emphasis on behavioural pricing and the dissemination of data regarding customer Internet use. It is well-known that a number of UK online retailers use behaviour pricing to attract customers by taking into account data collected across the Internet. It is also known that many retailers take note of customer Internet use and will use this information to increase their profit margins as much as possible.

The Internet is a very powerful tool which more and more retailers are now starting to realise although there is some concern about how personal data is used, even if the individual in question cannot be identified. Many people in the UK will not even be aware that they are being monitored when using certain Internet sites, which is a major concern to the Office of Fair Trading.

This is not the first time that such practices have been highlighted by the Office of Fair Trading and this is likely to be a situation which continues well into the future and will rear its head on regular occasions. Would you agree to your Internet activity being monitored and the data being disseminated?

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