Customers should think twice about handing over personal data when ordering food and drink via their mobile phones, according to Suzanne Gordon, director of data protection at the Information Commissioner’s Office in the UK.

“I think it’s too easy to upload an app and straight away put your name, email address, payment details in, without actually understanding fully where that information may be shared and why it’s being used,” she was quoted as saying by the BBC.

“Ultimately this is your data, it’s your personal information and you need to be confident when you’re handing it over and the reasons why.”

Sharing personal data was far from obligatory and pubs and restaurants should only ask for data which is relevant and necessary, she said.

App and web-based ordering has become commonplace during the Covid-19 restrictions, but with the UK now returning to pre-pandemic freedoms Gordon pointed out customers have the option of ordering in the more traditional way.

She commented: “I think it is very easy for people just to see the end product, and because they want that, they really don’t question the amount of data that they are being asked for.”

According to the broadcaster, some app developers have reduced the amount of data that ask of customers with commercial motives also in mind.

“We don’t believe customers should have to hand over excessive personal information just to grab a pint at the pub,” said Prask Sutton, CEO of app provider Onvi which has cut back on the data requested. “They’re going for a drink, not applying for a mortgage.”

Alex Mackenzie, co-founder of the Butlr app, said: “When we had our first venues go live, it was quite a rigorous sign-up process, but the data we collect from individuals has gradually worn away now. We want to make it as simple and easy as possible.”


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