Firms could be breaking data laws by using test and trace information for marketing, expert says

Companies could be breaching data laws over test and trace as people complained of receiving more marketing information, a consumer champion said.

Martin Lewis, of Moneysavingexpert.com, warned small companies that they could face fines if they misuse the personal information that customers hand over for contact tracing purposes.

He told BBC Radio 5 Live that after attending a barbershop and giving his phone number for coronavirus tracking, he later received a marketing text message from the firm.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) guidelines for test and trace, published last week, said this is against the rules, and the watchdog has previously said it will take any complaints very seriously.

Mr Lewis said: “About five days later from that barber hairdresser, that I had never been to before, I got a marketing text. I had specifically been asked for [my details for] test and trace, and when I posted this on Twitter… many other people had had a similar experience.

“I think it’s important for businesses to understand that when you ask people for their details for coronavirus it’s only usable for coronavirus check and trace.”

He did not name the hairdresser.

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