The country’s largest mobile phone operator is selling details of the internet habits of its 27 million customers. The telecommunications giant EE has struck a deal with the research firm Ipsos Mori to pass on data including what websites smartphone users visit.
Ipsos Mori clients will be able to get other information such as the gender, age group and location of those conducting internet searches. The information could potentially be used as a marketing tool for companies.
EE says the data is ‘anonymised and aggregated’ and details such as names, addresses and telephone numbers will not be handed out. The deal has alarmed EE customers, who took to internet message boards and forums yesterday to express their concern.
Jo Shaw wrote on Twitter: ‘Are you selling my data? If so how do I cancel my contract please?’Scotland Yard held a meeting with Ipsos Mori about the possibility of paying for some of the data to fight crime, but yesterday the force said it was not planning to make any offers for it.
Ben Page, of Ipsos Mori, admitted in a tweet last month that the deal might sound ‘creepy’, but said the firm had safeguards to protect anonymity.
The research firm initially considered the data for private sector clients and sporting events.
It snooped on which websites Olympic spectators checked and monitored the phone habits of visitors to shopping centres such as Metrocentre in Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Bluewater in Kent.
An Ipsos Mori document boasted: ‘We can understand not only where people are going, but what they have been doing before, during and after they visited these various locations.’ The group then met with police commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe on March 22, and assistant commissioner Mark Rowley at Scotland Yard last week to discuss the options available to the Met police.