The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is an interesting one for punters’ rights. How would you like your personal data handled? How would you like it analysed? How would you like it used? Would you like it deleted by certain bookmakers? These are all big issues.
Presently, some bookmakers are being a bit ‘naughty’ and the ICO, along with the UK Gambling Commission are reviewing their use of software, that is ‘dressed up’ as a cookie, e.g. Iovation (iesnare) (this link takes you to an overview of what we think Iovation [iesnare] does – very difficult to find out exactly how it is used. The link also tells you how to find Iovation [iesnare] on your e-device).
As many of you will be aware data collection and its use is a massive issue in general, especially online, therefore there are complex laws of what can and cannot be done. Dependent on your view you may see the laws as being too strict or too lax.
It is very, very difficult to make things simple concerning data injustices and we are not saying what follows is 100% accurate, but it is an attempt to give you an insight into whether it is worth complaining to the ICO or not.
1. If you discover Iovation (iesnare) on your e-device (PC, laptop, phone, etc.) this is not presently illegal (see aforementioned link for details of how to search for Iovation [iesnare]). However, it should be clear that a bookmaker may put this software on your device. We haven’t read every bookmaker’s terms and conditions, but we have read quite a few and have yet to find the product ever mentioned specifically, so complain.
2. If you are told by a bookmaker that a promotion has been withdrawn, your account restricted and/or closed, because you were ‘arbing’ or in other words trying to guarantee a profit, complain. If a company knows for definite that you have attempted to guarantee a profit on a sports bet they are probably tracking your internet activity illegally. Of course, they may be lying to you, i.e. they don’t know for certain that you are trying to guarantee a profit; so still not a waste of time as you can tell the UK Gambling Commission (click here) that their licensees are lying to their customers, which is not ‘open and fair‘.
3. If you suspect that any bookmaker is aware of your specific internet activity, complain, i.e. data that has been gathered and not pooled with other peoples’ internet activity before the company sees it: And this data does not concern their own websites or websites in their group of companies, e.g. GVC own both Ladbrokes and Coral, so personal data can be shared between these two companies.
No doubt, there are other examples, so always check, but these three offer plenty of opportunities to complain. You can find out how to complain to the ICO by clicking here. As always copy your local MP into any correspondence.