Technology New world. Contact details for customers of English bars collected against Covid-19 reused for advertising purposes

New world. Contact details for customers of English bars collected against Covid-19 reused for advertising purposes




In England as in France and here in Reims, customers are invited to leave their contact details. (FRANCOIS NASCIMBENI / AFP)

In Great Britain as in France, customers of bars and restaurants are invited to leave their name, first name and telephone number as part of the fight against Covid-19. This should allow health authorities to contact people in the event of contamination.

Except that in Great Britain, private companies have sniffed out the right plan and offer professionals dematerialized services to replace the sheet of paper and the pen, used until now. Customers are invited to check in directly with their smartphones. This service, faster and which saves a chore for traders, is offered in particular by the company Pub Track and Trace (PUBTT). According to a Times investigation, these companies resell the data collected to other marketing companies, a long way from the fight against Covid-19. Customers may then find themselves bombarded with advertisements or even recorded in files that hackers might try to seize and resell on the black market.

In France, it seems that for the moment we are sticking to manual lists on paper. However, offering online recording seems like a good idea in principle. The questionable commercial practices of some companies are made possible by the fact that customers tend to tick off the small boxes corresponding to the general conditions a little quickly and to accept, without knowing it, a commercial exploitation of their data. One of the Times-pinned companies, which specializes in contactless menu viewing and meal ordering, says it retains the data for 25 years.

This has nothing to do with scanning a QR with an official app, as is the case in England with the NHS Covid-19 app. In France, when the new StopCovid application comes out on October 22, there is talk of putting QRs in shops, but it would only be to invite people to download the application, not to transmit personal data.

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