In one week, the average person living in Britain has 3,254 pieces of personal information stored about him or her, most of which is kept in databases for years and in some cases indefinitely.
The data include details about shopping habits, mobile phone use, emails, locations during the day, journeys and internet searches. In many cases this information is kept by companies such as banks and shops, but in certain circumstances they can be asked to hand it over to a range of legal authorities.
This newspaper's findings come days after the Government published plans to grant local authorities and other public bodies access to the email and internet records of millions. Phone companies already retain data about their customers and give it to 650 public bodies on request.