AIB responds to claims of 'Big Brother' style spying tactics on customers' social media accounts 4 years ago

AIB responds to claims of 'Big Brother' style spying tactics on customers' social media accounts

The bank has been accused of spying on their customers' social media accounts.

Allied Irish Banking group has responded to claims that it has used 'Big Brother' style tactics to spy on its customers' social media accounts.

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Over the weekend, several sources, including Karl Deeter of Irish Mortgage Brokers, accused the banking group of trawling through its customers' Facebook, Twitter and YouTube pages and other sources for information.

It is believed that the claims stem from AIB's current mortgage application process, which requires customers to sign a consent form, giving the bank permission for a range of items, such as access to view their social media accounts, to be carried out.

The form has a section titled 'Data Analytics', which states that the bank analyses the information they collect through social media channels.

"This helps us understand your behaviour, our relationship with you and also our position in a marketplace," the section reads.

"Our analysis helps us to offer you products and services content we believe will be of interest to you."

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Deeter took issue with these forms, claiming that there is no "opt-out" option of such processes.

It's believed that similar consent forms are also used by EBS and Haven.

AIB Group has defended the move, claiming that any interaction with their customers' social media accounts is above board and in-line with normal practice.

In a statement to JOE, an AIB spokesperson said that the bank takes data protection very seriously.

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Spokesperson and Press Officer Paddy O'Connell released a statement to JOE on Monday morning, mentioning how highly the bank regards data protection laws.

“AIB does not monitor individual customer social media accounts and as such never makes decisions using individual customer’s social media data," the statement read.

"The only individual social media data that’s used by the bank is when a customer contacts us on AIB Group Social Channels and we respond to specific queries from customers as is normal practice.

"We do regular social listening where we monitor macro social media trends and sentiment towards our brand on social media. No individual customer data is collected or held as part of this measurement.

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"This listening tool only uses publicly available social media data and is anonymised and aggregated to measure sentiment and macro themes rather than any specific customer comments.

"AIB takes data protection very seriously and is fully compliant with all of its responsibilities.”