Over the last 12-18 months I’ve written extensively about Iovation (iesnare, ReputationManager), whatever they decide to call it, plus other gambling company customer tracking.
I’ve spent much more time submitting my case to the UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) and helping others do the same.
Again, time consuming, but I’ve recently submitted all the evidence we have about Iovation usage by gambling companies, gleaned from various sources and sent it to the Gambling Commission as part of ‘Justice for Punters’ (J4Ps)’ consumer work with them. This evidence strongly suggests that companies are struggling to reveal exactly how Iovation is specifically used to the ICO.
As yet, despite the ICO ruling that gambling companies have used and are still using Iovation in breach of the UK Data Protection Act (1998), no action has been taken against any company that will concern them at all. Why is this? To be honest, I don’t know and I’m getting to the stage where I don’t care.
As a punter should you be concerned about this? Too right you should.
It’s hard enough to enter the elite 2% of sports punters who win and when you do it’s virtually impossible to keep your accounts usable or open, even if you only bet in £10 stakes.
For one moment let’s imagine that Tesco were breaching data protection laws when you shopped with them online. What do you think would happen? It’s highly likely that all the major media would be over it ‘like a rash’, that lawyers would be ‘knocking on doors’ to find clients and the ICO would not be refusing to make their decisions for customers, against Tesco, public.
The regulators not only appear to be happy with data protection breaches against gamblers, they are also quite happy for gambling companies to refuse to trade with anyone, except those who lose: This is immoral.
As gamblers wait for the regulators to take action that may discourage gambling companies from continuing to trade in this way gamblers should be looking for help from other sources, because it could be a long time before anything significant is done by the regulators. For you this source of help may be ‘Jolly Lock IPVD’.
Why should a gambler not aim to stop all privacy intrusions online?
Nobody with any sense would go online these days without using a firewall and a virus checker, so why would you let gambling companies intrude on your e-devices’ privacy using specific trackers (yes there’s more than one), when they only have a right to see your activity and bets on the websites that a specific company or a group holding company owns. Why should you allow gambling companies to gain an insight into your e-devices’ general gambling activity outside one holding group? What you spend with gambling company A has nothing to do with gambling company B or C if they are not in the same holding group. As an example if you back a horse to win with company A and then lay it to lose later on a betting exchange what has that got to do with company A (so long as they don’t own the betting exchange as well)? Your contract is with them for the win bet, anything else you do later has nothing to do with them. On the contrary, it is invading your privacy and according to recent ICO rulings against data protection laws if they track this activity.
The gambling companies have decided it is fine to do all this in order to ‘protect’ themselves, so you the customer are well within your rights to protect yourself.
To this end we have been testing a brand new online security product (‘Jolly Lock IPVD’) that has been designed to prevent these privacy intrusions. So far, we are very pleased with it and are happy to recommend it in the following context.
To keep things simple technically, you connect from your e-device to a PC in ‘the cloud’ (a virtual desktop). This is your personal PC with a static UK based IP address (we have asked the company to buy some Irish IP addresses and await an answer). The IP addresses are not on any gambling or other banned list, like you may get from a virtual private network (VPN); they are ‘clean’. Instead of gambling from your own e-device, which has probably been compromised by some sort of bookmaker tracking, you connect to your new PC in ‘the cloud’ and off you go. It’s simple to setup, runs off a Linux platform, which is much more secure than the Windows and MAC platforms. The monthly licence cost also includes telephone and online backup. You can learn more about ‘Jolly Lock IPVD’ and how to set it up by watching this YouTube video (there is no sound):
You can setup your own PC in ‘the cloud’ for free (not secure in this context) or very cheaply doing it yourself (which may or may not be secure in this context dependent on your IT expertise), so it is the combination of the protection of ‘the cloud’ and the expertise of the company that made us test the product. The company concerned has software developers who are ‘experts’ in online privacy. We’ve also received feedback from our own independent IT person who says, “It should do what it says on the tin.”
What does it say ‘on the tin’? In J4P’s usual direct way we couldn’t care less. It’s what we think of it that counts. It will:
- Stop Iovation and other similar products tracking your e-devices’ gambling activity. An important note: Betfair are now using ThreatMetrix and Iovation on their website, both MUST be blocked to protect your privacy.
- Stop the use of other 3rd party cookies.
NB: Yes, as you know from my previous writing you can do 1 & 2 yourself, but you can also be caught out by updates, which overwrite your security, etc. I know, it’s happened to me.
- Stop each gambling company gaining any insight into your e-device’s gambling activity with other companies outside their holding group.
- It won’t stop you having accounts factored or closed, but it should extend the life of each account you hold, so long as you are sensible and not too greedy.
- Make it easier and more secure to bet using others’ names (more about this later).
- Probably start some sort of new IT ‘war’ in the gambling industry, but hopefully before the ‘war’ escalates the regulators will have done the decent thing and started fining heavily for data protection breaches.
The Gambling Commission has recently re-iterated that there is no right to bet in the UK and that it disapproves of people betting using others’ names. Only three years ago, I would never have thought the UK needed a ‘right to bet’, as I didn’t bet online (except on an exchange) and the only people I knew who couldn’t bet in shops were professional punters who were often placing bets for others, which I saw as a ‘fair fight.’ Now I know differently and if the only way to get a bet of £10 online is to bet using your Gran’s name, I think the Gambling Commission is wrong. Who has caused this problem? It certainly isn’t the £10 punter. The punter is not breaking any UK laws betting in his or her Gran’s name, so long as she knows and approves, however the gambling companies will say it infringes their terms and conditions (T&Cs). As many of you will know the fairness of gambling company T&Cs are presently being investigated. In the case of sports betting, it’s simple, you are a bookmaker: If you offer odds on a horse or a football team and don’t take a bet with a minimum liability of £500.00 per single bet; hand your licence back. If you are not happy with this you’re in the wrong job.
If you’ve been a follower of J4P’s work you will know we have a history of not recommending services and as the Founder I must emphasise we are only recommending this product in the context of what is outlined here. Any other claims you may see for it in other places are not our views. You have to make your mind up if the monthly cost of £25.00 for a licence is value in the context of how you bet. For some it certainly will be, for others it won’t.
‘Injured Jockey’s Fund’
If you SIGN UP to ‘Jolly Lock IPVD’ using the link below ‘Justice for Punters’ and ‘Jolly Lock’ will donate £3.00 per month to the ‘Injured Jockey’s Fund’ whilst your licence is running. Your first payment will still receive a 40% discount. This means, whilst fighting back against bookmaker spying you will also be donating £3.00 every month to a tremendous cause. J4Ps first aim for the ‘Injured Jockey’s Fund’ is to get 50 sign-ups, meaning they will receive £150.00 every month towards their work, for as long as a licence is paid for. TO ACHIEVE THIS YOU MUST USE THE LINK BELOW AND NOT SIGN UP FROM ANYWHERE ELSE.
Remember, you can cancel licences at anytime without penalty, so if ‘Jolly Lock IPVD’ doesn’t meet your gambling needs, it is easy to stop paying for and using it.
Founder & Funder of ‘Justice for Punters’
NB 1: Very important for all our friends in Ireland. I refused to publish this webpage until I was assured that ip addresses for Irish punters would become available for ‘Jolly Lock ‘IPVD’. This has now been promised and they should be available from early April 2017.
NB 2: You need to note that ‘Jolly Lock IPVD’ does not work on Bet365’s website at present. Jolly Lock’s privacy ‘experts’ are looking into this and hope to solve it soon. To my knowledge Bet365 do not use Iovation, but they do use other security, as yet, to be fully explained by anyone to my knowledge.