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.”
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. Target can buy data about your ethnicity, job history, the magazines you read, if you’ve ever declared bankruptcy or got divorced, the year you bought (or lost) your house, where you went to college, what kinds of topics you talk about online, whether you prefer certain brands of coffee, paper towels, cereal or applesauce, your political leanings, reading habits, charitable giving and the number of cars you own.
The system also suggests cheap crates of alcohol EVERY TIME I SHOP, and I have never, ever bought alcohol online.
“We are very conservative about compliance with all privacy laws. But even if you’re following the law, you can do things where people get queasy.”
There has never been a time when computing was not feared and distrusted.
You are proposing that the buyer automatically retain legal rights above and beyond what the seller has.
You can not shop at Target, you can not get a loyalty card.
The retailer is within its rights to "remember" this transaction, as are you within your right to save the receipt, and enjoy the yummy chips.
That's data mining, done to a dramatic and probably quite unlikely degree. It's unsettling and irritating, like discovering that your fly is open or being seen picking your nose, but ultimately there's nothing, no law, no power in the world that could keep Sherlock from observing what is in front of him and drawing his conclusions. We leave a trail of information about ourselves behind us. We just do.
“Kindly look her up in my index, Doctor,” murmured Holmes without opening his eyes. For many years he had adopted a system of docketing all paragraphs concerning men and things, so that it was difficult to name a subject or a person on which he could not at once furnish information. In this case I found her biography sandwiched in between that of a Hebrew rabbi and that of a staff-commander who had written a monograph upon the deep-sea fishes.
From: A Scandal in Bohemia
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