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back to article Storing punters' till receipts? UK.gov wants you to hand it over

Businesses that electronically store personal data about consumers may be required to make some of that information available to those individuals "in a machine readable format" if plans under consideration by the government are followed through. The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) is consulting on whether …

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Anonymous Coward

"help individuals understand their own consumption behaviours and patterns and help them change them for the better,"

People who care about such things are perfectly capable of saving their own till receipts etc. Those who don't, do not and won't. So what exactly does this meddling, nanny state, "change them for the better" project do other than create work for busy bodies, and costs for businesses, for no good purpose.

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quote: "So what exactly does this meddling, nanny state, "change them for the better" project do other than create work for busy bodies, and costs for businesses, for no good purpose."

First thing I spotted was that they are calling for an interoperable transfer format, which would help facilitate data transfer between organisations when a consumer wishes to move. e.g. make it simpler to go from BT to Virgin, or Vodafone to Orange. Surely a common customer data format would make things cheaper and easier for businesses who deal with migrant customer bases (especially in high churn sectors like mobile)?

I realise that the transferer would rather not lose the customer, so this would only really "benefit" the transferee, however unless you are a massive failure as a company you should be gaining at least as many as you lose to competitors ;)

Purely as an aside, since companies already have to comply with DPA requests, being able to use a common export format also means that in-house developers can start building reusable libraries relevant to your existing systems, simplifying the task of providing the data when a customer asks for it. Eventually you'll see commercial products offering fully compliant export (probably aimed more at the SME parket), customisable to your existing database schemas, and/or off the shelf CRM apps offering built-in export functions. Which is going to (eventually) reduce costs in complying with existing legislation regarding customer data requests.

Or something.

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Anonymous Coward

I really can't see how this helps.

I don't need my previous transaction history going to my new supplier. If I sign up for a new mobile phone I'm going to need to provide them with my Name and Address (which they can get from a house number and postcode) from the outset so they can agree to take me on as a customer. Apart from a PAC code - what more do they need?

Passing your data over doesn't actually seem to be much of a problem that needs solving.

All my previous transactions are also currently available using my bank statement - I can see what I bought, where and approximately when.

All sounds like a red herring to me - what is a mass database of transaction really useful for? Not sure its a consumer but I can think of a few government and civil service departments that may be interested.

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Black Helicopters

Government chess:

This is the Pawn: Sell this idea as "for the individual's benefit":

No government in human history has ever unilaterally or voluntarily created laws "for the individual's benefit", and when these words are used, VERY big alarm bells should go off.

As in a couple of years we will see the Queen moved into the game: the REAL purpose for this is to lay the foundations for another law, one requiring businesses to send this data to GCHQ.

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Coat

I was just about to post near enough the same thing !!

its the same old story of legislation creep. just like they did with the IWF, sold it to us on the "think of the children" ticket and the promise it would only ever be used for kiddy porn.... now we government bods being paid off by "big media corp" to push alleged copyright infringement onto the same blocks.... "because the infrastructure is already there to do it"

how long until they ban cash sales because its too hard to trace?

where’s my coat? can someone point me in the direction to the way out of 1984

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Anonymous Coward

And until Big Gov gets access to you data there will be a healthy trade in Newspaper Sponsored Private Investigators requesting the data on your behalf - using the 'simple online form'.

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Black Helicopters

might have some benefits

I'm inclined to like the idea of making it more onerous for businesses to retain information about my purchases and my identity: the increased costs may discourage them from doing it.

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Re: might have some benefits

I doubt it. They'll just pass the costs onto you.

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Coat

Re: might have some benefits

Or relocate to a different jurisdiction.

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Cash is king!

If this bothers you!

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A solution to fix a non-problem.

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Anonymous Coward

Fail Whale

Simple then, pay cash ! Stuff you Big Brother !

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FAIL

Re: Fail Whale

"Simple then, pay cash ! Stuff you Big Brother !"

until they ban cash sales.... it will all end up with card transactions...

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Re: Fail Whale

Trouble with that is the amount of online shopping done now...

I cant pay cash for items from ebay or amazon or numerous other online sellers unless they have a trade counter and if they are hundreds of miles away then its just not going to happen.

The days of cash are sadly numbered...

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Re: Fail Whale

cornz 1 wrote :-

"Trouble with that is the amount of online shopping done now... ....The days of cash are sadly numbered..."

I don't know why I bother to rise to such tripe, but here goes. Lets wind it back a generation or two to 1950 :-

"Trouble with that is the amount of mail order shopping done now.......It is all done with postal orders and cheques ...The days of cash are sadly numbered..."

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Anonymous Coward

Machine readable format

So binary then? Not much use to a customer asking for previous transaction data.

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FAIL

Re: Machine readable format

Some clever twat invented these things called "character encodings", so that we can have binary that is readable by both machines and humans.

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Boffin

Considering legislation

If you are considering legislation, stop it. Then go look up existing laws and see if you can find one that covers it already. If you still can't then go and find 10 laws that are outdated, bureaucratic or authoritarian and get them stripped from the books. Once you have gotten rid of 10 retarded old laws you can have 1 new one.

Vote Thomas18 today, for a less bureaucratic / more monomaniacal tomorrow

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"how long until they ban cash sales because its too hard to trace"

The govt already "frowns" on cash payement e.g. to tradesmen etc. This was "sowing a seed". Not long until this happens to me and you on the high street, then.

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WTF?

There's only one reason i would be interested

And that would be if I could wipe the records.

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Stop

TALKING ABOUT information in "an intelligible form" ...

have you noticed how the receipts from those wretched thermal primers always manage to fade jusy before you need them for tax preparation time.

I think the government should mandate a 18-moth life for all receipts.

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Happy

Re: TALKING ABOUT information in "an intelligible form" ...

Have you considered that mandate has already been issued? Just not the way you wanted it;)

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Anonymous Coward

Why do I get the feeling that having established this principle the Government will then produce a net of it's own and start asking for copies of this data itself?

Y'know - fight against terrorism and all that rubbish,,,

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AOD
WTF?

Some retailers already ahead of the curve...

We recently had cause to pursue a faulty appliance supplied/installed as part of a fitted kitchen which failed spectacularly after less than 3 years of very light usage.

The retailer in question (B&Q) after attempting the usual fobbing off towards the manufacturer (eg "It's out of warranty, why are you annoying us?") finally agreed to refund the purchase price.

That was the good bit, the scary part was when they insisted that the refund could only be applied to the card used by my wife to place the deposit for the kitchen back in 2008. WTF is a retailer doing retaining this level of detail for that period of time? Please don't make me laugh by suggesting that the data is suitably secured either.

Is it really credible that they should be retaining this information on the off chance that they need to issue a refund because they could easily cut a cheque instead.

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Re: Some retailers already ahead of the curve...

Why do people with no knowledge of retail feel they know it all? Minimum retention of complete transaction detailes is 4 years (http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/manuals/chmanual/CH15600.htm). Most retailers use around 7 years. As B&Q are a level 1 retailer I'd hope that they are nearly, if not completely, PCI compliant and therefore the details will be encrypted/tokenised.

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Wher's my iconoscope?

It's possible to print copies of cash register receipts and customer data with credit card last-four directly onto a transparent "film strip" without resorting to photography. This means microfiche can get around the BIS rule; 1950 rides again. Automating viewers with film coded by frame, and video of same sent to the requesting computer, records would be non-electronically stored, and thus immune to the requirement.

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