People should not have to surrender excessive amounts of data just to order a pint, the UK’s data privacy protection body has said as the country emerges from lockdown.
Apps were widely adopted for ordering food and drink during the pandemic, in a bid to reduce physical contact and prevent the spread of coronavirus.
With many of these new tools likely to stay in place, businesses have been warned by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) that they must still comply with data protection law and only collect personal data that is necessary and relevant.
Companies are also urged to provide customers with alternative safe ways to place an order so nobody is excluded.
“We understand and appreciate the challenge that many small businesses have faced during the pandemic,” said Paul Arnold, deputy chief executive of the ICO.
“Our focus is on supporting and enabling them to handle people’s data responsibly from the outset, and to help the thousands of businesses that are doing their best to continue to keep recovering from the pandemic.”
The ICO advises people to check the privacy notice of the ordering app to find out what the business intends to do with their data, looking out for who is collecting their information, what it is going to be used for, and whether it will be shared with other organisations.
Mr Arnold said it is about “getting the balance right”.
“People are excited to be going out again and the innovations that have emerged through the pandemic can make that experience safer, easier and more enjoyable,” he added.
“But you shouldn’t have to give up too much of your personal data to order a pizza or a pint.
“Businesses should keep it simple, fair and transparent and we’re here to help.”