Reasons to be fearful?

Not so sweet? Nectar and Yahoo could be analysing your habits online and offline.

News that Yahoo has agreed a new advertising partnership with Nectar, the online loyalty programme for Sainsbury's supermarket and other brands, has once again sparked concern over privacy and the integrity of surfers' personal data.

Britain has been under pressure from the European Commission since last April to amend its laws around so-called behavioural advertising.

The furore surrounds the UK's green light for the controversial behavioural ad targeter Phorm, which monitors surfers' web clicks in order to better target adverts on partners' websites.

In the latest deal, Yahoo and Nectar will draw on the databases of both companies to offer targeted online advertising, bringing together online as well as "offline" data. The idea is to attract reticent bricks-and-mortar-type businesses to advertise on the web, by offering them more targeted ad opportunities and better feedback.

So, should we be worried? That the scheme is an "opt-in", and affects only people who are both Yahoo and Nectar users, should ensure its compliance with privacy laws.

The bigger worry, perhaps, are schemes which require an "opt-out", such as early trials of Phorm's technology. Though strides have been made in this area, you need to fill in a series of forms to be sure you are opted out of certain companies' behavioural advertising schemes.

As well as the privacy concerns, behavioural advertising can lead to disconcerting assumptions. It was noticed last year that users of Amazon.de in Germany who bought a particular aluminium baseball bat were also likely to want leather gloves, a balaclava and a can of pepper spray.

Jason Stamper is NS technology correspondent and editor of Computer Business Review.

Jason Stamper is editor of Computer Business Review

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Commons Confidential: Dave's picnic with Dacre

Revenge is a dish best served cold from a wicker hamper.

Sulking David Cameron can’t forgive the Daily Mail editor, Paul Dacre, for his role in his downfall. The unrelenting hostility of the self-appointed voice of Middle England to the Remain cause felt pivotal to the defeat. So, what a glorious coincidence it was that they found themselves picnicking a couple of motors apart before England beat Scotland at Twickenham. My snout recalled Cameron studiously peering in the opposite direction. On Dacre’s face was the smile of an assassin. Revenge is a dish best served cold from a wicker hamper.

The good news is that since Jeremy Corbyn let Theresa May off the Budget hook at Prime Minister’s Questions, most of his MPs no longer hate him. The bad news is that many now openly express their pity. It is whispered that Corbyn’s office made it clear that he didn’t wish to sit next to Tony Blair at the unveiling of the Iraq and Afghanistan war memorial in London. His desire for distance was probably reciprocated, as Comrade Corbyn wanted Brigadier Blair to be charged with war crimes. Fighting old battles is easier than beating the Tories.

Brexit is a ticket to travel. The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority is lifting its three-trip cap on funded journeys to Europe for MPs. The idea of paying for as many cross-Channel visits as a politician can enjoy reminds me of Denis MacShane. Under the old limits, he ended up in the clink for fiddling accounts to fund his Continental missionary work. If the new rule was applied retrospectively, perhaps the former Labour minister should be entitled to get his seat back and compensation?

The word in Ukip is that Paul Nuttall, OBE VC KG – the ridiculed former Premier League professional footballer and England 1966 World Cup winner – has cold feet after his Stoke mauling about standing in a by-election in Leigh (assuming that Andy Burnham is elected mayor of Greater Manchester in May). The electorate already knows his Walter Mitty act too well.

A senior Labour MP, who demanded anonymity, revealed that she had received a letter after Leicester’s Keith Vaz paid men to entertain him. Vaz had posed as Jim the washing machine man. Why, asked the complainant, wasn’t this second job listed in the register of members’ interests? She’s avoiding writing a reply.

Years ago, this column unearthed and ridiculed the early journalism of George Osborne, who must be the least qualified newspaper editor in history. The cabinet lackey Ben “Selwyn” Gummer’s feeble intervention in the Osborne debate has put him on our radar. We are now watching him and will be reporting back. My snouts are already unearthing interesting information.

Kevin Maguire is the associate editor (politics) of the Daily Mirror

Kevin Maguire is Associate Editor (Politics) on the Daily Mirror and author of our Commons Confidential column on the high politics and low life in Westminster. An award-winning journalist, he is in frequent demand on television and radio and co-authored a book on great parliamentary scandals. He was formerly Chief Reporter on the Guardian and Labour Correspondent on the Daily Telegraph.

This article first appeared in the 23 March 2017 issue of the New Statesman, Trump's permanent revolution