BA in privacy row

The Daily Mail has reported that British Airways has faced a backlash after announcing plans to use Google images in order to identify passengers.

The airline has said it wants to provide a more personal touch to its service by using the “Know Me” programme which will send messages with information about specific customers to the iPads of customer service agents and senior cabin crew, or update check in staff via the airline’s computer system.  The airline aims to send 4,500 of these personal messages a day by the end of 2012.

BA also aim to search individuals’ data held by the airline, including if a regular traveller has experienced problems on previous flights, such as delays, so that crew are primed to apologise.

Surely if BA want more information about us they can simply ask for it?

The announcement from BA comes on the same day that the Home Affairs Committee has released a report highlighting the growth in availability of personal information and the dangers it presents.

It is clear that the Information Commissioner’s Office needs to defend explicit consent from customers and punish those who obtain data without consent.  The current fine for those found to have unlawfully obtained, disclosed and sold personal data is currently, on average, only £100; clearly not nearly an effective enough deterrent.  Until jail sentences can be handed out to those who deliberately obtain sensitive information that they are not entitled to, the public cannot be sure that their privacy is adequately protected.