August 9 2018: Emma’s Diary Data Used to Get Mums in Labour
The “Diary”, a subsidiary of “Lifecycle Marketing”, is one of the UK’s leading baby clubs for mums-to-be, providing expert advice on every aspect of pregnancy and childcare.
It claims to be the best UK new born baby club for taking mothers through every stage of pregnancy, from pre-conception up to labour and beyond.
Its database contains personal details of many millions of women in the UK.
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) recently fined the “Diary” £140k for illegally collecting and selling personal information to “Experian Marketing Services”, belonging to more than one million people.
Experian created a database, to be used used to profile the new mums in the run up to the 2017 General Election.
To achieve this the information was sold on to the Labour Party, who used it for political campaigning purposes sending targeted direct mail to mums advising them of party policy to protect “Sure Start Children’s Centres”.
A sure fire vote influencer!!!!
The Information Commissioner, said: “the democratic process must be transparent”.
The ICO has put the UK’s eleven main political parties on notice to have their data-sharing practices audited later this year, and that there are outstanding enquiries with a number of data brokers, including Experian.
But there is more to the story
The “Diary”, is owned by Nick Wells, who has over twenty years experience in the direct mail industry and is a past “Chair of the Institute of Sales Promotion”, and has been a member of the board of Directors of the UK’s leading direct marketing trade body.
So you would think he would know the rules applicable to Data protection.
Whistl UK Ltd – holds data on all 26 million UK households
In 2014, Nick and his, (Tnt Post Uk Ltd) team completed a management buyout and created a new company, “Whistl UK Ltd” after securing a £65million asset based lending facility from the Royal Bank of Scotland, enabling further investment across all of its business divisions.
Whistl is the largest postal operator in the UK, after the “Royal mail”.
Its business divisions include downstream access (DSA), doordrop media, international, packets and parcels and logistics.
It has expanded from a greenfield operation in 2004 to collecting, sorting and transporting nearly 4 billion items a year to 26 million UK residences.
It employs around 1,700 people.
A list of Nicks Companies:
Nicholas Mark Wells PARCELHUB LIMITED Director 2018-06-01 CURRENT 2010-03-12 Active
Nicholas Mark Wells WHISTL FULFILMENT (FARNBOROUGH) LIMITED Director 2017-07-31 CURRENT 2003-08-20 Active
Nicholas Mark Wells WHISTL FULFILMENT (RUSHDEN) LIMITED Director 2017-07-31 CURRENT 2004-02-27 Active
Nicholas Mark Wells WHISTL FULFILMENT LTD Director 2017-07-31 CURRENT 2015-02-03 Active
Nicholas Mark Wells FAMILIES PRINT LIMITED Director 2017-06-20 CURRENT 2017-06-20 Active
Nicholas Mark Wells WHISTL GROUP HOLDINGS LIMITED Director 2015-09-25 CURRENT 2015-09-16 Active
Nicholas Mark Wells NOMINEE 71 LIMITED Director 2015-09-25 CURRENT 2015-09-25 Active
Nicholas Mark Wells LIFECYCLE MARKETING (M & B) LIMITED Director 2012-04-06 CURRENT 1990-11-08 Active
Nicholas Mark Wells WHISTL LONDON LIMITED Director 2008-02-05 CURRENT 2008-02-05 Active
Nicholas Mark Wells WHISTL MIDLANDS LIMITED Director 2007-12-20 CURRENT 2007-12-20 Active
Nicholas Mark Wells WHISTL SOUTH WEST LIMITED Director 2006-10-31 CURRENT 2006-10-31 Active
Nicholas Mark Wells WHISTL NORTH LIMITED Director 2006-04-20 CURRENT 2006-02-08 Active
Nicholas Mark Wells WHISTL GROUP LIMITED Director 2003-07-21 CURRENT 1974-03-12 Active
Nicholas Mark Wells WHISTL LIMITED Director 2003-07-21 CURRENT 2001-07-30 Active
But there is even more to digest: Many moons ago I exposed the illegal database sharing activities of the “Better Together” campaign team and “Experian”.
30 January 2011: Credit check giant “Experian” is accused of ‘ripping off’ its customers
Britain’s biggest credit reference agency has been accused of misleading customers who sign up for a supposedly free service to check their financial records.
Experian advertises the service on its website, stating: ‘Get your free Experian credit report. The UK’s No1 credit report!’
Those who take up the offer are then required to provide a range of personal information, including their address and credit-card details.
But after receiving their online credit report, customers are automatically signed up to a full service charging them £14.99 a month – and many claim that it is extremely difficult to opt out of the payments.
The full service includes a £6.40 identity fraud insurance and email alerts telling customers about any changes in their financial circumstances.
One customer said: ‘I searched for hours on the Experian website to get out of paying any money.
I couldn’t even locate the free-phone number which they say you have to ring to unsubscribe.
Even when I said I didn’t want to pay I was offered another service costing £7.99 a month.’
Within hours of being approached “Experian” admitted that the wording on the website, saying that the customer had been charged immediately, was misleading and promised to remove it.
A spokesman said: “we re grateful for you drawing this to our attention and we will immediately update the website to stop the wording from appearing.” However, he denied that the system for opting out of Experian’s premium service was unfair, insisting that it was transparent to all users adding: “There is a balance to be struck here. We don’t want to be so helpful that we encourage people to leave our service. After all, you don’t go into a supermarket and see signs for how to get a refund.”
Experian has seen its profits soar as consumers use its online service to check their credit-worthiness during the economic downturn.
It has also seen rising numbers of users checking their profiles after having their debit or credit card cloned.
Credit reports are one of the main sources used by financial institutions when deciding whether to offer loans.
Experian, with twice as much credit report business as its nearest rival in the UK. recently reported that it’s profits increased from £297m in 2007 to £436m in 2010.(Daily Mail)
Better Together” gains unfettered access to Experian’s database
The credit-checking group “Experian” was contracted by “Better Together” to devise a new data management tool.
The company created a software package from it’s extensive database titled “Patriot” which stored all consumer data obtained from lenders and companies who voters had contracts with.
This allowed “Better Together” to identify lifestyle indicators, categorise voters and link them with activists of a similar age or with similar social media friends in order to improve voter targeting and canvassing.
The initiative is yet another damming example of the hard-hearted, ill advised “Better Together,” appointment of the US media company “Blue State Digital,” the agency that managed the successful first election campaign for US President Obama.
And he said the US would not get involved in the referendum campaign. Liar.
The drive, manipulating information on social media and UTube was launched with the purpose of recruiting volunteers who were then provided with the personal details of members of the electorate given the task of cold-calling canvassing their support.
The information gleaned was also stored in the campaign database and provided to the three parties involved with “Better Together.”
The initiative was a follow on from the controversial April 2013 “Better Together.” campaign which included the widespread unauthorised distribution of unsolicited text messages releasing people’s personal details and information.
A campaign which was successful recruiting over 3,500, “cold-call” volunteers.
Afternote: The Scottish electorate should be concerned:
“Anyone with a credit card, bank account, loan, mortgage, store card or monthly/quarterly mobile phone will most likely have an Experian profile.
The company conducts millions of credit checks each year on many hundreds of thousands of UK citizens.
The level of data they collect and hold is frankly staggering. Making matters worse, the information “Experian” retain is very often gathered without the knowledge of the subscriber.
Companies run credit checks on potential customers whenever a new application for credit is made, yet it is rarely explained what “doing a credit check” actually entails.
In fact, the consumer has little to no choice over which company actually undertakes the credit check. They are chosen by the bank, estate agent, mobile phone network or any other commercial organization.
Not engaging with a credit reference agency is almost impossible. It would entail not having a bank account, not having any direct debits, not having a credit card, not renting or owning a property. We have to, whether we like it or not, engage with these companies.
The consumer needs to be able to trust companies such as “Experian” that handle massive levels of personal data, more acute when we have little to no say over what data they hold.”
19 July 2014: Scottish independence: “Better Together” targets voter ‘Tribes’
The group campaigning for a “no” vote in Scotland’s independence referendum has said it is conducting the most sophisticated targeting of voters seen in British political history.
Pro-union “Better Together” has launched its new “Patriot” system which divides Scotland’s four million voters into 40 different tribes. This allows the campaign team to contact undecided voters, using letters, emails and face-to-face discussions.
The technology, said “Better Together,” had been developed, cost £500k, using information provided by the “Experian” credit rating agency.
Input from “Blue State Digital,” former media advisers to President Obama, now working for “Better Together” allowed the identification of lifestyle indicators, such as the number of cars a family had and local house prices.
Voters are then “linked” to activists of a similar age or with similar social media friends.
In a statement, “Better Together” campaign director Blair McDougall said: “We are on the doorsteps and high streets and also on peoples smartphones, tablets and PCs. This new tool greatly helps our campaign bring thousands of volunteers together with voters who will decide the outcome of the referendum.”
Estimates are that “Better Together” had 10,000 volunteers, many with useful IT experience, resident in universities, colleges in England, signed up before the start of the campaign.
Social media had an important role as an enabling factor assisting “Better Together” to effectively mobilize volunteers, disseminating information using the “Patriot” software. (BBC)