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Gloucestershire Business News

Privacy concerns over food and drink ordering apps

Beware the mobile app you use for ordering food and drink in the post-Covid world - it could be invading your privacy.

That's the message from the Information Commissioner's Office which has issued a warning to customers about handing over too much personal data when ordering in pubs and restaurants using their mobile phones.

Ordering by app has become a feature of the hospitality industry as a result of the Covid crisis.

But the ICO's director of data protection told the BBC that people should remember they have a choice over what information they share.

Suzanne Gordon, director of data protection at the ICO, said: "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.

"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."

The apps are popular with businesses because they speed up ordering. Even though people can return to pre-Covid ways of ordering now many are still using the apps.

The ICO says that sharing personal data is not obligatory.

Gordon added: "Customers need to understand they do have a choice. We're now coming out of the pandemic and there's the ability to order on the app or in the more traditional way.

"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."

Wetherspoons, Greene King, Mitchells and Butlers and Stonegate all now have their own in-house apps.

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