Bounty reps cold calling on our maternity wards is something I’ve written about before.

I’ve made no secret of the fact I think it’s wrong that in those first few hours after you’ve had a baby, that you can find yourself in a position where a sales rep will be stood by your bed wanting to take your baby’s photo and collect your – and your newborn’s - data.

I’ve always thought it was unethical. And an invasion of your privacy at a moment when you probably need it more than ever before.

And I’m not alone in this. Every time I’ve chatted about this, both here and on the radio, the response I get surprises me. So very many other mums have been left upset by the rep, at their timing (or lack of), and their hard-sell manner when they were feeling at their most vulnerable.

It’s a practice that has been going on for years, though things are slowly changing. In north Essex, coloured cards are now placed on mothers’ bedsides to indicate whether or not they are happy to be approached.

But that’s not the only development. Bounty UK has just been given a £400,000 fine for illegally sharing the personal information of more than 14 million people.

The fine was issued by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) in what it said was an “unprecedented” case.

It’s now been shown that Bounty compiled personal data but did not tell people that it was shared with 39 other organisations. In fact some 34.3 million records from June 2017 to April 2018 were shared with marketing agencies like Acxiom, Equifax and Indicia. Steve Eckersley, the watchdog’s director of investigations, said the “careless” data-sharing was likely to have caused distress to many people.

I’m so glad this has finally been acknowledged, but I can’t help thinking that fine was nowhere near big enough.

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