Information Advantage will test the boundaries of the Data Protection Act when it launches its e-Intelligence initiative next month.
E-Intelligence hopes to offer services to Internet vendors that will include on the spot credit checking, customer segmentation, purchase forecasting and online basket and purchasing behaviour analysis for each customer that comes to the site.
The scheme requires collusion between online service providers, such as search engines and shops, and publishers and credit agencies to share customer information.
Charles Tipping, European marketing director at Information Advantage, claimed that the project would not contravene the Data Protection Act as the information would be collected with the consent of the customer and was not used for "ill gotten gains".
He believes customers will volunteer information to a trusted party. Customers could fill out a questionnaire on areas of interest and would only receive relevant information and recommendations, not "junk mail and crap" he said.
In the US, consumers have little protection over the collection and use of personal information, but rules in the UK are much tighter, explained David Smith, assistant registrar at the Data Protection Office.
"In fairness people should know exactly what information is used for. If a site is collecting information for its own purposes it should tell you what it is being used for," said Smith. "If it is collecting information with the intention to pass that information on to someone else, it should tell you who it is and what it will be used for."
As part of its e-Intelligence project, Information Advantage will enlist the assistance of partners, including campaign management software developer Prime Response and "one of the top six system integrators", Tipping said.
For more stories see 23 March issue of PC Week UK
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