O2 Turn Big Brother

The next bill mailout from O2 will include new Terms & Conditions informing customers that changes have been made to the information O2 can collect and archive including length and times of calls, and more worryingly; location.

The new T’s & C’s have been on O2’s website for a while, but not all customers were aware, and some believed that only new customers would be affected.

Excerpt from the new Terms & Conditions:
"We have extended the ways in which we may use information about you and your use of the service – which may now include communications made and received by you and the date, duration, time and cost of such communications and the location of your mobile phone"

But what does this mean?

The Data Protection Act prevents companies from giving anyone else individual information without permission, but can freely gather information for use in-house and to publish various statistics.

Networks knowing where you are allows them to build their infrastructure accordingly. It’s obvious that there are more mobile users in London than in the Outer Hebrides, but what about everywhere in between. The information gathered from call locations permit networks to make sure they’re running at appropriate capacity.

However, O2 will now be sharing the information gathered with various credit companies, other telecommunications firms, and debt collectors "…for the purposes of operating your account and providing you with the service…in addition to crime prevention and fraud detection" and O2 customers who aren’t happy with it don’t have much room for manouvre as by using their phone they agree. The new T’s&C’s clearly state "Please note by using the service you will be deemed to have accepted these terms and conditions."

So does this mean that eventually we can expect to get a phonecall at lunchtime from the local McDonalds telling us to pop in and have a burger as ‘we’re just round the corner’? Or maybe from a credit card company who knows we’re in a town centre and offers us a ‘spectacularly low rate’ as they know we’re out shopping?

We can only wait and see.

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