A reporter for the Daily Mirror in the United Kingdom filed requests for data under the country’s freedom of information laws to 46 organizations and received a mountain of data. The organizations “included Government agencies, schools and universities, hospitals, dentists and GP surgeries and firms [the reporter] used.” He said, “Stacked over two feet high and weighing 12kg (nearly two stone), this pile of more than 3,000 sheets of paper contains every private detail of my life in my 35 years on the planet.”
He was amazed by the amount of personal information that was gathered and “stored on dozens of databases around the country which can be accessed by thousands of people”:
In it you’ll discover what I buy at the supermarket, what type of movies I like to watch and what music I’ve downloaded.
You’ll find out what route I take to work, which restaurants I eat in, how often I go to the gym and everything I’ve ever bought or sold on Amazon.
You’ll know how much I earn, how much my house is worth and how much I owe on my mortgage, loans and credit cards.
You’ll even discover that I once complained about the postman, that I was once caught out for plagiarising a university essay and that, aged 11 months, I came down with conjunctivitis.
The reporter also gave tips on how a UK citizen could request his or her records.