Santander to track customer location via mobile

I found this interesting little note on the bottom corner of my latest Santander current account statement:

santander customer tracking by mobile and tablet

Protecting your account

With effect from 1 July 2015, to prevent and detect fraud, where we hold information about devices you use such as mobiles or tablets, we may use location or other data from these devices. For example, we may check if you’re in the country where your payments are being made in instances where we suspect fraud on your account. We will not use this information for any other purpose.

The simple example given sounds quite reasonable on the surface, as do most surveillance ideas, but:

  • Do we really need to be tracked everywhere we go by another party?
  • What “other data” are they planning on collecting, besides location?
  • What safeguards are there to protect this data?
  • How long will they keep this data?
  • How are they collecting this data? Do you need to have installed their app or will they be getting information from your mobile operator?
  • Who might they be forced to give this data to?
  • Will it just make another massive database that government agencies can access to get more information about persons of interest? I.e. does it just become another, privately operated, extension of government surveillance?
  • Where is the option to opt out?
  • Is it really even needed for the stated purpose? If they have your mobile number and spot a transaction they think is potentially fraudulent they currently call you to confirm it’s really you, which seems to work well when it’s happened to me.

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