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How companies spy to learn your secrets

6:47 am on Feb 18, 2012 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Senior Member sgt_kickaxe is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member

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“If you use a credit card or a coupon, or fill out a survey, or mail in a refund, or call the customer help line, or open an e-mail we’ve sent you or visit our Web site, we’ll record it and link it to your Guest ID,” Pole said. “We want to know everything we can.”

seems standard, even if invasive, but...

Also linked to your Guest ID is demographic information like your age, whether you are married and have kids, which part of town you live in, how long it takes you to drive to the store, your estimated salary, whether you’ve moved recently, what credit cards you carry in your wallet and what Web sites you visit.

that's stuff you may not want known and it gets better

the question became: how could they get their advertisements into expectant mothers’ hands without making it appear they were spying on them? How do you take advantage of someone’s habits without letting them know you’re studying their lives?

The answer might have you ditching club cards and paying cash, if for no other reason than to save money. That likely won't work much longer however, given the advances in facial recognition. Knowledge is your best bet since stores clearly don't want you to know.
7:06 am on Feb 18, 2012 (gmt 0)

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It is truly amazing that so many people either do not realize or do not believe that using those store rewards cards, credit cards, and such, enables an establishment to become "big brother" with implied consent.

All those polls that appear on a facebook page is a good example. These polls are not interested in what you think, they only want to know more about you so ads can be better targeted. And for that matter, most of the polls like that give no indication as to who is conducting it.

Swipe a card, check a box, push a button, and your life is an open book accessible to the highest bidder.