Philosophy

The Big Brother Customer Loyalty Card

By Michelle Martin
Published January 24, 2010

I've just started an online continuing ed course in privacy and confidentiality, and among the useful and interesting things I'm learning about privacy and freedom of information legislation are some asides from my classmates and instructor that give food for thought.

Here's one in a lighter vein, but that is disconcerting nonetheless:

I'm re-thinking customer loyalty cards, and you might want to as well. You think you got those air miles for free?

Michelle Martin lives in Hamilton. The opinions she expresses in Raise the Hammer are her own.

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By Kiely (registered) | Posted February 03, 2010 at 17:56:39

A friend of mine worked for a large data collection company that dealt with these cards and he told me years ago what they were actually for. His company used them to do what they call data mining and they would sell the data to large consumer products companies (Pepsi, Kraft, etc...). It is possible to know what toothpaste you use, what food you like, how much you drink (LCBO is always pushing the Air Miles card), when you shop, where you shop, how mnuch you spend, etc...

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