Magazine article Marketing

Government Targets UK Brands in Quest for Data

Magazine article Marketing

Government Targets UK Brands in Quest for Data

Article excerpt

Brands baulk at idea of sharing customer information with official bodies.

The government is calling on major brands, including Tesco, to allow access to their customers' records as part of its plan to overhaul the next census.

Fifteen brands across retail, banking and utilities belong to the Demographics User Group (DUG), a lobbying organisation that has been involved in high-level talks with officials including Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude.

The group also counts John Lewis, Orange, Camelot and Boots among its membership.

Discussions between the government and DUG have centred on finding ways to cut future costs for the once-a-decade census, which are projected to reach pounds 500m this year.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) claimed no decision had been made on the census' future, but Maude believes there are more-efficient ways to gather the data.

However, Marketing understands that at a recent meeting called by the ONS, talks stalled after brands raised fears that sharing data could compromise customer privacy. There is, however, no suggestion that the government is encouraging companies to breach the Data Protection Act. …

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