So why would a bank want to track your movements? Normally they don't. With new technology, new features have been implemented that were originally to serve a single purpose. That technology has been embraced by soceity, but soceity as a whole does not realise exactly what is being recorded about them. The technology isn't always used for it's orginal purpose, or by people we'd like to think were using it.
The banks themselves don't really care where we are or what we do with our money, but I'm going to tell you just what the banks know about you.
Citizen A again. He has a bank account with Bank X. He has a cheque book, a debit card and a credit card. His employer pays his salary into his bank account.
Here we are, the first pieces of information are coming together. At this stage the bank knows, and keeps a record on their computer systems of:
All that information is kept about every account holder. Every one.
I think most of us accept this level of information being held by the bank. They've always had quite a large amount of information about us. After all, we trust them to keep our money. But what if it's not the bank that looking at the information? All of this is kept on computer - and we all know computers aren't safe.
Citizen A does an honest day's work for an honest day's pay. He gets paid at the end of each month. He feels that soceity has degenerated considerably in the last ten years and he doesn't like carrying cash around with him in case he's robbed. Sentiments that many would agree with. For this reason he uses his credit or debit card for most transactions. It's these that are most worrying.
Whenever you use a credit or debit card the transaction is recorded on the bank's computer. Fine, they need to know how much to take out of your account, but how long do they keep the data? Do you know? Is it a year? Is it ten years? Well, I can tell you, it's at the very least a whole year. In the last two years, every high street bank in the UK has invested huge sums of money in data storage technology - every bank.
So what are they recording then? Well, there's the obvious things like, how much you spend and where you spend it. But they're also keeping a record of the exact time and date - down to milliseconds. Why? Because the technology allows them to.
Even so, many people will still accept this, given the convienence of using these cards over cash. But what if the bank's records are compared to shops video camera footage. Using the time and date information they can pinpoint your whereabouts and then look at you on the video tape.
Supposing you decide that you won't use your credit or debit card anymore. You'll just take your money out of the bank when you need it. Well, they've got you there too I'm afraid. Whenever you take money out of an ATM you're being watched. You probably don't even know. Some banks are very overt about the cameras watching the ATMs, but most are not.
They know when you've taken the money out, they can see you do it, and then, using the time and date from the ATM, they can use this to watch you on taped camera footage. They'll probably be able to see where you went with the money, where you spent it, maybe even what you bought.
Vendemen - 4 January 1998