It is becoming common knowledge that your private data is being purchased and traded by corporations. The process of obtaining this information is known as Data Mining. Many have feared the release of private messages on Facebook and the release of Google Search terms and at least one of those things have already occurred. In the coming days of Nationalized Healthcare, you will definitely see the prying eye of Big Brother into your daily lifestyle.
Target Gets Caught
The following is a story told by a man named Rodney (57)
My son, who is trying cast off the vile tobacco habit, called to ask me to pick up a box of nicotine patches that he is using to eases his craving. Since I would do nearly anything to help him quit smoking I tossed a box of the patches in my shopping cart.
At the checkout, the nice lady (really!) asked me for my driver’s license. Assuming that she wanted to verify my age (Wow – being carded at 57) I showed it to her. She then said that she needed to scan the stripe. I declined and told her that I've proven my identity and my age and I would prefer to NOT have them record my details.
She then called over a manager who appeared to have gotten her makeup tips from RuPaul to override the register by inputting my date of birth. The manager then informed me that it was the law to scan my license. Before I could complete my rebuttal, she changed her story that it was store policy whereupon she snatched up the box of patches and left the checkout. The clerk was obviously horrified and mouthed an “I’m sorry” to me. I simply smiled and told her that Target could keep everything else, too.
[I] didn't want to risk winding up on some database of smokers.
I have no way of knowing how this could be used against me during a health insurance claim or background investigation.
According to reporters with The Blaze, "Target has been in the spotlight recently for its extensive data mining abilities to direct marketing to its customers, which could be exactly why the store wanted to scan his I.D. in the first place. An article in the New York Times by Charles Duhigg, highlighting a portion of his book “The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and in Business,” showed how Target is able to tell if a woman is pregnant, based on its purchase-tracking capabilities, before even she knows. Duhigg wrote:
For decades, Target has collected vast amounts of data on every person who regularly walks into one of its stores. Whenever possible, Target assigns each shopper a unique code — known internally as the Guest ID number — that keeps tabs on everything they buy. “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.”