If asked to give examples of personal information many of us would offer our name, address and phone number, perhaps an email address too. After all, this is how people usually identify themselves and others as individuals. The laws on data privacy do indeed classify these as personal information, but include a great deal more besides. Personal information is information about specified individuals, or information that could be used to single people out as individuals, either directly or when added to other pieces of information.
This includes a great deal of the information that people knowingly give to organisations – when you submit an email address to be updated about offers or discounts, for example. But it also includes the technical information collected when people go online with laptops or mobiles to browse websites or make purchases.
Lloyds Banking Group collects information of the first kind when a customer submits a form when applying for a credit card, for example. It collects the second sort when recording details such as the date, time and location of a credit card purchase. This is partly to make sure that the best quality services are offered to customers, but also to comply with regulations that apply to all banks. Clearly, when put together all this information adds up to a detailed picture of a customer’s life and behaviour. This benefits customers because it helps banks to spot unauthorised activity in an account and tackle fraud effectively. But it also makes it important that Lloyds Banking Group explains clearly to customers what personal information it holds about them, when it’s collected and why. For more detail see our Privacy Notice – it’s worth a read.