Gold'en Rant of the Week : Selling your personal data down the information river

Blyk, a new Scandinavian cellco, has outlined plans to offer a free mobile phone service - targeted at 16 to 24-year-olds - in the UK from next summer onwards.

In return for filling out a very detailed life-style questionnaire, and agreeing to have various adverts relayed to your mobile phone via text, MMS and mobile Internet streams, customers will get a SIM cardwith a set amount of free minutes and text messages to be used each month.

What Blyk isn't saying, of course, is how it plans to use this information, or how it will sell it to third parties, which it will probably have to, if it is going to finance the free calls effectively.

Blyk is actually a logical extension of the personal information iceberg - there are tens of thousands of sites on the Internet offering something for free in return for your in-depth personal information.

Most of these sites have a privacy policy, telling you, the Internetter, about what will happen to your data.

Many don't. And if a service is offered for free - like Blyk - it's a fair bet that many customers won't read the small print, even if it published online.

And it's likely that Blyk will have to pedal quite furiously to make the free calls business model work effectively.

Too bad that most customers won't be aware you can get mobile phones and SIM cards effectively free of charge already from the likes of

E2save.com, Phoneboxdirect.co.uk and Mobileshop.com.

Which is a lot better than selling your personal data down the river and putting up with multi-channel adverts relayed to your mobile!...