Daily Mail: 'Council Race Spies Rummage Through Your Bin' [link]
"Local authorities are using social profiling techniques to match different types of rubbish to different ethnic groups or wealthy and poor households, as part of a recycling drive initiated by the last Government. Householders can then be placed into social categories, which in some areas range from 'wealthy achievers' to the 'hard-pressed' - and subsequently targeted for future leafleting campaigns."
The Daily Mail highlight 'covert bin-rifling operations' and obviously refrain from describing the people carrying out the alleged work as 'analysts', instead preferring the more sensational headline of 'council race spies'.......
Whilst this sort of reporting is not unusual for the Mail, it does illustrate the fact that every move an individual makes can provide a data trail that has potential use for advertising targeting and the more effective delivery of marketing campaigns. Credit companies, supermarkets and so on have long maintained databases on customer preferences - and as far back as 2005 the Daily Mail themselves have been offering advertisers the chance to 'target audiences based on their interests or previous behaviour' with 'rules-based targeting specifying audience sections based on criteria like frequency of visits to a site, registration data, or geographic location.'
As the world gets more connected and data pools grow ever larger (Neil Perkin highlighted the 'that the 'digital universe' grew by 62% last year to 800,000 petabytes' - enough to fill 75billion iPads) then the discipline of harnessing of data for targeting, profiling and social segmentation will inevitably become ever more important and ever more commonplace.
......however, in the current climate of austerity, if UK local governments really want consumer information for 'leaflet targeting' there are far more cost efficient ways of acquiring data then sending people to analyse the contents of rubbish bins!