| EVERY person in Spain is recorded on at least 300 databases worldwide, 50 of which are active, claim IT experts.
Data protection law in Spain dictates that if a person so requests, their details can be removed from any commercial records, although it is nearly impossible to ascertain exactly where data is held.
“The problem nowadays is that we do not know who is watching us – once, it was the State; now it is companies,” reveals Gemma Galdón, head of security policy at the Catalunya Open University (UOC).
Social networks, loyalty cards, utility companies, CCTV cameras in the street and even college course applications all involve personal data being collected and sold to companies which use them for marketing purposes.
“Today's issue is how to delete your information from the internet – knowledge is money and power, and in five years' time this will be even more the case,” warns Galdón, who says legislation needs to be passed to ensure total protection of members of the public.
She recommends that when receiving a 'cold call' aimed at selling products or services, the recipient asks where the caller obtained his or her data in order to ask for it to be removed.
“There have been cases where certain countries – particularly the USA – have denied access through their borders to people whose data shows that the police have been to their homes at any time,” Galdón adds.
“The danger of this widespread online information about everyone is that data is only used to create a profile, and is not necessarily the reality of that person. It is simply a caricature of them, and this can create far-reaching consequences.”