Opt-out?
October 26, 2011 11:46 AM   Subscribe

Visa and MasterCard have decided to start selling information about your purchasing history to advertisers.

How long before American Express, Discover, and JCB join the act?

Ironically, the Federal Trade Commission has reached an agreement with Google that will include the agency monitoring the company's privacy practices for the next 20 years. (pdf)
posted by jeffburdges (111 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
 
"Their plans, if implemented, would represent not only a technological feat—tying people's Internet lives with shopping activities—but also an erosion of the idea of anonymity on the Web." It seems like they MIGHT start selling, or maybe WANT to start selling.
posted by Blake at 11:49 AM on October 26, 2011


In completely unrelated news, Louisiana outlaws cash payments for secondhand goods.
posted by odinsdream at 11:50 AM on October 26, 2011 [29 favorites]


There is a good chance Visa and MasterCard's new initiatives violate the European Data Protection Directive, although I haven't seen any analysis posted yet.

I somehow doubt Visa will suddenly start mapping the geothermal potential across the U.S. or whatever either.
posted by jeffburdges at 11:50 AM on October 26, 2011


Building on their defeat of Wikilinks . . .
posted by Obscure Reference at 11:50 AM on October 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


And now that I read more of the original WSJ article... your summary is really way off.
posted by Blake at 11:51 AM on October 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


Um, leaks.
posted by Obscure Reference at 11:52 AM on October 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wow, can't imagine that going over well at all. Does no one in the bank listen to the news? I am sure it is having an office on the 40th floor, smoking a cigar and talking trash to the secretary, but they need to see reality. People are quickly reaching a point where they are not going to accept this sort of thing. For many that line has already been reached.

I imagine it could be a marketing opportunity for another credit card company which would offer more privacy and fewer fees. They may not make as much per person, but they'll more than make it up in volume.
posted by 2manyusernames at 11:52 AM on October 26, 2011


This just reinforces my determination to use cash for as much as I can.

Anyone have any good recommendations for using cash (or near-equivalents) for online purchases?
posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:52 AM on October 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


I always assumed that they were selling it anyway which is why I use cash as much as possible.
posted by a womble is an active kind of sloth at 11:53 AM on October 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


...if I were a rich man, I'd take out a credit card and buy nothing but blasting caps, dildos and bourbon and see what sort of van they send to park outside my house for an extended period of time.
posted by griphus at 11:53 AM on October 26, 2011 [39 favorites]


Oh come on you guys, once Visa and Mastercard start earning some scratch on this, then surely this will translate into savings for consumers!!!!
posted by Sticherbeast at 11:54 AM on October 26, 2011 [26 favorites]


Someone will have access to the information that I eat a lot of Taco Bell and put gas in my car. SUCKS 2 BE ME!
posted by SharkParty at 11:54 AM on October 26, 2011 [5 favorites]


Cash it is, then.

Reminds me of the Futurama episode with Lightspeed Briefs, where they beam commercials directly into your dreams.
Leela: Didn't you have ads in the 21st century?"

Fry: Well sure, but not in our dreams. Only on TV and radio, and in magazines, and movies, and at ball games... and on buses and milk cartons and t-shirts, and bananas and written on the sky. But not in dreams, no siree.
posted by Davenhill at 11:55 AM on October 26, 2011 [29 favorites]


To quote Mussolini:
"Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power."
posted by Flood at 11:56 AM on October 26, 2011 [23 favorites]


Someone will have access to the information that I eat a lot of Taco Bell and put gas in my car. SUCKS 2 BE ME!

And when they start selling the data to your health care provider?
posted by inigo2 at 11:57 AM on October 26, 2011 [35 favorites]


Futurama has a Taco Belleview hospital.

Maybe they'll give you a card they punch a hole in every time you eat a taco. On your 200th taco, you get a new heart.
posted by mccarty.tim at 11:59 AM on October 26, 2011 [4 favorites]


Visa and MasterCard have decided to start selling information about your purchasing history to advertisers.

I'm really sick and tired of corporations doing what they want with my personal information.

That's why we need to stop government regulations on business.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 12:00 PM on October 26, 2011 [14 favorites]


Everybody's getting in on this game, and to believe the news, we just have no choice but to suck it up and take it. The State of Florida, for another example, netted a cool $62 million by selling every licensed Florida drivers' personal information to marketers last year. The private sector's actually a little behind the curve here.

But seriously, how long are we going to keep tolerating the complete sell-out of our society?
posted by saulgoodman at 12:00 PM on October 26, 2011 [5 favorites]


And when they start selling the data to your health care provider?

The health care provider where your wife's nosy cousin works, if we want to get it as personal as it might get.
posted by mhoye at 12:00 PM on October 26, 2011


...if I were a rich man, I'd take out a credit card and buy nothing but blasting caps, dildos and bourbon and see what sort of van they send to park outside my house for an extended period of time.

It's a Time Warner Cable van actually.
posted by elizardbits at 12:01 PM on October 26, 2011 [7 favorites]


I understand this is contentious, but if you use a smartphone, your purchasing habits, interests and information is probably being used far more severely right now than what this proposes.

I hate the banks, too. I understand that. But we're already being sold out by our carriers, and we've shown we don't want to part with our beloved iPhone4S or Android phone. What makes us think Americans will care that their credit is being used for advertising?
posted by glaucon at 12:01 PM on October 26, 2011


What makes us think Americans will care that their credit is being used for advertising?

I don't think most Americans care at all, which is why I want to repeatedly slam my face into a desk.
posted by Sticherbeast at 12:03 PM on October 26, 2011 [15 favorites]


You could mitigate that slightly by using https everywhere, not buying stuff on your phone, etc., glaucoma. Visa and MasterCard hold an effective oligopoly over online commerce.
posted by jeffburdges at 12:05 PM on October 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'd be interested in what advertisers would make of a card that was used primarily for online charitable donations, thrift stores and gadget chargers.
posted by pernoctalian at 12:06 PM on October 26, 2011


if you use a smartphone, your purchasing habits, interests and information is probably being used far more severely right now than what this proposes.

How so? (Honest question.) I don't purchase things via my cell phone. Are you implying they correlate my location with what type of business is there or something?
posted by inigo2 at 12:06 PM on October 26, 2011 [2 favorites]




I think they care. There are just too many threat-signals out there in the media landscape to pay close attention to and care about without going insane, let alone to prioritize into actionable plans for self-defense...
posted by saulgoodman at 12:07 PM on October 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


meh. old ma bell had always known who you called. the mailman knew who wrote you. herm, down at the sinclair knew the oil you put in your studebaker. bears knew where cavemen shit in the woods.
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 12:08 PM on October 26, 2011


If you're paying for it, you're not the customer, you're the product being sold.
posted by ardgedee at 12:09 PM on October 26, 2011 [9 favorites]


Oh come on you guys, once Visa and Mastercard start earning some scratch on this, then surely this will translate into savings for consumers!!!!

Seems unlikely they'll ever earn anything on it, after the invisible hand gets done with them. People value their privacy, they will surely switch to an alternative provider of convenient private plastic money and Visa and Mastercard will woefully shake their heads wondering what they were thinking and stop. Privacy problem solved by the market!

And if people don't switch, well, that's evidence they don't value their privacy. Or that the government is stopping them. Or something like that.
posted by weston at 12:10 PM on October 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


griphus: "...if I were a rich man, I'd take out a credit card and buy nothing but blasting caps, dildos and bourbon and see what sort of van they send to park outside my house for an extended period of time."

Wait. What do you mean? They would find that something to monitor?

SHIT!
posted by Splunge at 12:11 PM on October 26, 2011


Honestly, if this means I can stop watching the "Head On -- apply directly to the forehead" commercials ... rock on.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 12:11 PM on October 26, 2011


This is why I pay for everything with sex.
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:11 PM on October 26, 2011 [20 favorites]


Louisiana outlaws cash payments for secondhand goods.

Wait...So...No more garage sales in Louisiana?
posted by Thorzdad at 12:11 PM on October 26, 2011


Argh, this reminds me...I need to opt out of Verizon tracking...
posted by JoanArkham at 12:13 PM on October 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


This is genius. Or insanity. I hear it is a fine line.

1. Introduce "anonymised' data sharing with advertisers
2. Collect new profits.

3. Introduce "non-anonymised" data sharing with advertisers
4. Collect new profits

5. Offer "anonymised transaction service" offering anonymous transactions for $100 a year
6. Collect new profits

7. Collect names of "anonymous transaction service" subscribers
8. Offer DHS service of list of "potential terrorists" for a $100 per name reporting fee
9. Bask in new profits and sanctimonious sense of offering the Freedom Protection Card(tm).

10. Direct naysayers to Eric Schmidt for discussions on the living/non-living nature of privacy.
posted by nickrussell at 12:14 PM on October 26, 2011 [7 favorites]


Sticherbeast: I don't think most Americans care at all, which is why I want to repeatedly slam my face into a desk.

IKEA has a fine selection of desks, such as the BESTÅ BURS ($269), EXPEDIT ($50), and the FREDERIK ($99.99).
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 12:14 PM on October 26, 2011 [32 favorites]




"...if I were a rich man, I'd take out a credit card and buy nothing but blasting caps, dildos and bourbon and see what sort of van they send to park outside my house for an extended period of time."

Oddly enough for some reason I put that to the Fiddler on the Roof song.

Before I regained my senses.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 12:15 PM on October 26, 2011 [12 favorites]


This is why I pay for everything with sex.

Funny, I've got a bridge to sell you.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:15 PM on October 26, 2011 [5 favorites]


My Facebook page already greets me everyday with ads for pardonsonly.com, I cannot wait to see how the credit card companies interpret me.
posted by mazola at 12:15 PM on October 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


I need to opt out of Verizon tracking

Part of me wants to leave it as it is, because you really never know when you'll need an alibi.
posted by elizardbits at 12:15 PM on October 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm confused... so basically they're going to discover people go grocery shopping? I think I must not be very valuable to marketers.
posted by hoyland at 12:16 PM on October 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


...after the invisible hand gets done with them. People value their privacy, they will surely switch to an alternative provider of convenient private plastic money

Barriers to entry. Lots of retailers won't accept anything but Visa and Mastercard, so other cards aren't always a realistic substitute. It doesn't necessarily take bad laws to cause a market failure.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 12:16 PM on October 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


And if people don't switch, well, that's evidence they don't value their privacy. Or that the government is stopping them. Or something like that.

The invisible hand doesn't work its magic on things like credit cards and debit cards. People are often locked into using particular cards for particular reasons, and they are often loath to stop using their cards for other reasons. The invisible hand made a great deal more sense when we were dealing with butchers and bakers. In today's network economy, however, faith in the invisible hand must become even shakier.

That's not even getting into people being not aware of this happening, if and when it happens.
posted by Sticherbeast at 12:18 PM on October 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm curious if targeted advertisements should be viewed as anti-thetical to a competitive market place somehow, i.e. they unfairly distort the customer's product evaluation. In any case, there should be more trustworthy crowd sourced, or even 'deliberative', solutions to evaluating product quality.
posted by jeffburdges at 12:18 PM on October 26, 2011


How about a law that every time my info gets sold to a new company, the seller has to deposit 50% of the fee into a bank account of my choosing? And every time my data is shared between subsidiaries/differently names units of a single corporation, I get $5? Failure to pay lets the government fine the crap out of them and shut them down if they want.
posted by freecellwizard at 12:21 PM on October 26, 2011 [14 favorites]


Exactly: why do Visa and the State of Florida get to capture revenue from my personal information without compensating me? I could use the damn money.
posted by saulgoodman at 12:23 PM on October 26, 2011 [4 favorites]


How so? (Honest question.) I don't purchase things via my cell phone. Are you implying they correlate my location with what type of business is there or something?

Apps are notorious for monitoring the websites you visit or where you are located. Storing this information helps online stores and advertisers build a profile of who you are as that smartphone user.

After a while, they'll not only know that you live in X town but that you have purchased Y in the past, likely support Z type of candidate and you were a size 40/29 pair of pants. Then they'll know, by market studies and mining data of customers similar to you, that you'll like one particular pair of pants, and will have a promotion for you.

Sounds great, right? Except that they shouldn't have a right to collect this stuff. And they certainly should be asking permission before silently collecting this stuff in the background while you play Angry Birds or go online.
posted by glaucon at 12:23 PM on October 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


So, in terms of the original point of this article, I never was under the assumption that credit card transactions were private. Maybe there were at one point, but given that if I bought 1,300 dollars worth of Alien Dildos at the local Dildopolis, the sellers would have not only my name, but my address and signature, and given that the invoice for all those Dildos would potentially sit in my mailbox for my significant other, mother, neighbors, etc to see... if I wanted privacy credit cards were my last choice.

But I want to talk about LA outlawing cash... from Odin's link-
I do wonder if that's even legal. Our cash clearly says that "This note is legal tender for all debts, public and private." While businesses may have the right to refuse cash, can a government outlaw the use of cash?
Yeah, how is that legal, and more importantly, how is that even enforceable? You going put chips in paper money to detect if they are being used for second hand material? How does this effect illegal contraband trade since... well... none of that was second hand? What keeps consignment shops from selling goods for a dollar a piece but selling the never before used packaging for those goods for cash? Also, it seems like, instead of this law being targeted at those selling illegal contraband its aimed at those running small time consignment shops because (a) Craigslist and garage sales are never NOT going to depend on cash and (b) illegal or under the table trade has already been made illegal, I'm not sure how this makes those laws any more enforceable? If I was already breaking record keeping law I'd probably have no qualms about also breaking monetary use law. Also, how is this law consistent with US treasury law? So many questions...
posted by midmarch snowman at 12:24 PM on October 26, 2011


This is about who your identity belongs to for purposes of commercial exploitation, not just about privacy.

We don't let other parties make money off of our images without requiring permission and fair financial compensation. Why should we allow other parties to make money off our demographic profiles and other personal data (which are fundamentally no different)?

This is yet another reason giant companies like Visa need to be broken up.
posted by saulgoodman at 12:28 PM on October 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


...if I were a rich man, I'd take out a credit card and buy nothing but blasting caps, dildos and bourbon and see what sort of van they send to park outside my house for an extended period of time.


Well, the challenge is going to be in how they sort the information and what they interpret.

For example, you buy a buttplug from an "imported gifts" company and a bathtub plug from Home Depot two days later, I'm sure the van will have a gastroenterologist.
posted by Bathtub Bobsled at 12:29 PM on October 26, 2011


I'm confused... so basically they're going to discover people go grocery shopping? I think I must not be very valuable to marketers.

Don't be modest. Do you know how Tesco, for instance, values their data about consumer behaviour and so cashiers always ask you if you have a loyalty card? If this comes to pass and you are a competing supermarket chain, you could have data not only about your customers, but about your competitors' customeers too, especially in countries that lean towards cc/dc use.
posted by ersatz at 12:33 PM on October 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Apps are notorious for monitoring the websites you visit

Both iOS and Android have memory and filesystem isolation of apps. Only the browser should have access to that information?

I would think it's much more likely that your wireless carrier is selling your DNS request history.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 12:35 PM on October 26, 2011


I know I'm going to come across as some kind of primitive caveman, but I don't understand how this affects the average person. Take advertising - every time I perform a search of some kind, I see ads for the product category I've searched for, pop up everywhere in my subsequent browsing. Recently, I was looking at TRX Suspension training gear, and ultimately decided to buy a different product (Jungle Gym XT). Well, now I see TRX ads pop up in at the margins of random stories having nothing to do with TRX. And so on for all my purchases. But here's the thing - I never, ever click on any of such ads, nor do I ever click on the sponsored results in google searches, and frankly, most of the time I've long since made my purchase and further ads are entirely unproductive. I don't click on such ads, because when I did so, years ago, for the sake of exploring all options, I noticed that just as I suspected, the "deals" were worse than what I could find for myself, or were generic traffic drivers to "find X on nextag, ebay, amazon, ScumbagMerchantOfTheMoment", and thus basically a total waste of time. Since then - it's been years - I ignore it like the noise it is. So what's in it for the advertisers? What exactly would merchants getting info from Visa/Mastercard do nefariously to rob me of my money? Now, I do understand the harm of this if such info is mined by employers or the government, so I would object to this on such grounds alone, but the sellers of goods and services... why would I care? Honest question, don't kill me.
posted by VikingSword at 12:36 PM on October 26, 2011 [4 favorites]


You should care because it's your information. I'm sometimes willing to sell my info to enter contests or get a discount, but that's my choice to make on a case-by-case basis.
posted by JoanArkham at 12:40 PM on October 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


I guess the credit card companies still aren't done saying "fuck you" to Congress for daring to consider consumer protection laws.
posted by crunchland at 12:40 PM on October 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


Ok, so how exactly are they planning on linking card number 4111 1111 1111 1111 with IP address 127.0.0.1?

I mean, I understand that VISA has an extensive record of my bourbon and blasting cap purchases, but how would they link that to my daily visits to booze-and-bombs.com?
posted by madajb at 12:42 PM on October 26, 2011


Before anyone else tries, booze-and-bombs.com is NSFW. Mostly because of the dildos.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:44 PM on October 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


I understand you don't have much respect for them, shakespeherian, but it's going a little overboard to refer to the ATF as "dildos", don't you think?
posted by griphus at 12:46 PM on October 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


From the start selling information link, "Plus, both MasterCard and Visa, which also collects that information, allow users to opt out of the data collection, if they so choose."

The article doesn't say how to opt-out. Anyone know?
posted by zippy at 12:47 PM on October 26, 2011


Now, I do understand the harm of this if such info is mined by employers or the government, so I would object to this on such grounds alone, but the sellers of goods and services... why would I care?

They're profiling you. The targeted ads put tracking cookies on your browser so the advertisers can gather info on your browsing habits, which helps them get a clearer picture of who you are--not just to serve you more of their targeted advertising, but also for selling to others, for more general marketing uses. It's all supposed to be anonymous, but it would be silly to think it really is. With enough data points it's trivial to nail anonymous info down to a specific individual. In fact, in state government data, we have to deliberately exclude data in certain cases from our publicly released data sets to avoid that potential.
posted by saulgoodman at 12:47 PM on October 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


I understand you don't have much respect for them, shakespeherian, but it's going a little overboard to refer to the ATF as "dildos", don't you think?

I was speaking of my employers.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:48 PM on October 26, 2011


I'm pretty sure my doctor can tell what kinds of foods I eat by the shape I'm in, pretzeliciously knotty.


The article doesn't say how to opt-out. Anyone know?

It's generally in every bank's privacy policy somewhere, an address to mail your request to, in tiny tiny print. The policy, not the request. Well, probably both.
posted by nomisxid at 12:48 PM on October 26, 2011


griphus: "...if I were a rich man, I'd take out a credit card and buy nothing but blasting caps, dildos and bourbon and see what sort of van they send to park outside my house for an extended period of time."

If I knew a rich man who was spending all kinds of money on blasting caps, dildos and bourbon, I'd want his address too. But just to see if he was single.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 12:49 PM on October 26, 2011


If I were a rich man, daidle deedle daidle daidle daidle deedle daidle dum.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:51 PM on October 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


Visa and MasterCard have decided to start selling information about your purchasing history to advertisers.

Honestly, I always assumed they were already doing that.
posted by box at 12:52 PM on October 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


I don't use AdBlock or anything like that. I just make a mental note about every ad I see and, wherever possible, AVOID BUYING FROM THEM*. My personal information is worthless because I will blacklist any seller I catch "targeting" me for advertising. So the money they spend on marketing research AND advertising will only go toward raising the price on products I have already chosen not to buy. That's the only way I know to REALLY opt out.

*obviously and sadly, not ALWAYS possible. I have 'consumer loyalty' toward some products for specific reasons, a few of which are obnoxioius advertisers, but they can't figure out that I buy IN SPITE OF their ads (and usually for reasons that have nothing to do with their advertising pitch), not because of them. But even they lose a little loyalty (and maybe a little business) whenever I catch them 'serving' me and ad.
posted by oneswellfoop at 12:52 PM on October 26, 2011


qxntpqbbbqxl, apps can contain backdoors reporting your unique device ID to third-party services that correlate the data.
posted by idb at 12:54 PM on October 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


According to today's Wall Street Journal, the credit card companies are currently trying to work out a system whereby purchases consumers make in a brick-and-mortar store can be used to deliver more effective ads online.
So they're not selling the data directly, rather they're trying to sell the benefit of the data, without actually giving customers direct access. That said I didn't even know these credit card companies had that data. They know what store you shop at, but not specifically what you buy.

Anyway, if you don't like the ad targeting, just get adblock. Also, if you want to get away from the banking system, you can start using bitcoin, which is far more anonymous then the ordinary banking system (in some cases it may be theoretically possible to correlate your name with your bitcoin address, but it would be difficult and impossible in some cases)
It seems like they MIGHT start selling, or maybe WANT to start selling.
Of course they want to start selling, there is just the question of whether or not they think they can get away with it
If you're paying for it, you're not the customer, you're the product being sold.
Uh, right. Except customers do pay for their credit cards. Even worse, though they typically pay their bank. Visa and Master Card sit in between and soak a small fee as well as all the data. So even if you trust your credit card issuer, you can't avoid Visa/Mastercard.

--
I do wonder if that's even legal. Our cash clearly says that "This note is legal tender for all debts, public and private." While businesses may have the right to refuse cash, can a government outlaw the use of cash?
Too bad if you carry large amounts of cash the police can just seize it. Various states are also trying to make laws to make it simply illegal to carry the cash regardless of any actual link to any kind of crime. I've heard stories about, for example illegal immigrants who don't use the banks, and keep all their money in cash having their life savings seized.
posted by delmoi at 12:55 PM on October 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


I always assumed that they were selling it anyway which is why I use cash as much as possible.

Exactly. What's the difference if Visa/Mastercard starts selling your info. All the vendors you purchase things from with credit cards are already selling your info anyway, right? I suppose it's the packaging of data?

I understand the theoretical difference, but what is the practical difference (if any)?

But seriously, how long are we going to keep tolerating the complete sell-out of our society?

One more year?
posted by mrgrimm at 1:01 PM on October 26, 2011


This shameless data grab by the American consumer must be stopped! "MY data?" "MY information?" Surely not. After all, you visited THEIR website, you used THEIR offerings to finance the purchase of goods and services. Seems to me like it's THEIR information. HAMBURGER
posted by monju_bosatsu at 1:03 PM on October 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Porn, porn, porn, porn about bikes, porn, porn, HP Lovecraft-themed coffee set, porn
posted by Mister_A at 1:09 PM on October 26, 2011


Any community-minded attorneys out there up for a class action lawsuit seeking compensation for all us Visa cardholders for the unauthorized use of our personal information?

How can it possibly be a legally coherent position to say we have a right not to have our likenesses used by others without consent/fair compensation, while every other form of personal information about us is fair game for wheeling, dealing and profiteering...
posted by saulgoodman at 1:17 PM on October 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


mmmm. delicious VISA information hamburgers. better even than cookies!
posted by bonehead at 1:20 PM on October 26, 2011


The reason why so many people are posting "I thought they already did that" is probably because they read this 2009 NY Times article about how credit reporting companies use your purchase history to create your credit score.

...that the brands we buy are the windows into our souls — or at least into our willingness to make good on our debts. His data indicated, for instance, that people who bought cheap, generic automotive oil were much more likely to miss a credit-card payment than someone who got the expensive, name-brand stuff. People who bought carbon-monoxide monitors for their homes or those little felt pads that stop chair legs from scratching the floor almost never missed payments. Anyone who purchased a chrome-skull car accessory or a “Mega Thruster Exhaust System” was pretty likely to miss paying his bill eventually.

with this new policy insurance companies and any other creditor can buy your purchasing history information directly from Visa/Mastercard rather than divining it from your credit score. Now Geico will know exactly how many times your settled your bar bill at 2am - and how often - and will adjust your premium accordingly. Time to start stocking up on premium bird feed and snow roof rakes.
posted by any major dude at 1:21 PM on October 26, 2011 [4 favorites]


The ad on the left side of the article for the first link was from my bank, trying to sell the same account upsell they had a telemarketer pitch to me on Sunday. Am I just being paranoid?
posted by [expletive deleted] at 1:25 PM on October 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


To quote Mussolini:
"Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power."


Corporatism isn't what you think it is. This mistake occurs a lot, so it seems many people don't know the difference. You're probaby looking for corporatocracy.

posted by Jehan at 1:26 PM on October 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Since this is increasingly becoming the norm rather than an aberration *cough*FACEBOOK*cough* I've decided the only way to really have sufficient anonymity (or at least inscrutability) is going to be data jamming.

Fill your Facebook userinfo with false information. Like, literally, everything you possibly can. For the credit card companies, jam the data by having friends by things for you and give them cash for it. Buy large quantities of low-cost goods and donate them to goodwill or the homeless. Make your data trail more difficult to decipher than it's worth.

It's the consumer data equivalent of dazzle camouflage. Unfortunately you have to be able to *afford* to generate vast quantities of pointless data, and it wouldn't shock me that if enough people did it, someone would try to make it illegal, but at the least, you won't make it easy on the bullshit peddlers.
posted by chimaera at 1:28 PM on October 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


Don't be modest. Do you know how Tesco, for instance, values their data about consumer behaviour and so cashiers always ask you if you have a loyalty card? If this comes to pass and you are a competing supermarket chain, you could have data not only about your customers, but about your competitors' customeers too, especially in countries that lean towards cc/dc use.

Store loyalty cards record what you purchased, whereas it doesn't seem clear from the article, nor from what little I know about the functioning of credit cards, that there's an easy way for the company to recover what you're buying. Without actually seeing my grocery receipt, you can't figure out I'm a vegetarian, for example.

One of the weird quirks of Minnesota is that our grocery stores don't seem to have loyalty cards, or at least not ones where there's a clear incentive to use them. (They ask you for one at Rainbow, but you still get the sale price without one, which isn't the case at other US supermarkets. We don't get points/vouchers like at Tesco. Though maybe Rainbow's enticement is targeted coupons.)
posted by hoyland at 1:32 PM on October 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


if such info is mined by employers or the government, so I would object to this on such grounds alone

Not too long ago I started noticing signs at some hotel desks, notifying guests that the hotel required valid identification to check in, and that they shared their records with law enforcement on request.

Request. Effectively, "the government" has at-will access to (these) hotel records with no process or review.

The hotel is within their rights to do this, and I can see why they'd want to. I'm not even sure this is a particularly outrageous state of affairs. The reason I bring it up isn't to stoke resentment about that particular, but to illustrate that once data about you is in the hands of a private party, there is very little other than their own inclinations to keep them from voluntarily handing it over to the government. Or, for that matter, selling it for their own reasons to other private parties, perhaps even your prospective employer.
posted by weston at 1:53 PM on October 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Guess I'll be spending more cash at the strip clubs than paying for online porn. Hipster bonus: keeping my money local.*

* am I being sarcastic or not? guess you'd have to install a microchip and start tracking my movements...oh wait...don't give them any (more) ideas.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 2:06 PM on October 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


Apart from the OMFG nature of the news itself, it's interesting to note that, apart from the Bizarro world of the editorial page, the Wall Street Journal is still a real newspaper. This is good journalism.
posted by Kevin Street at 2:17 PM on October 26, 2011


midmarch snowman: I think the Louisiana law is flatly contrary to the supremacy clause, so no, not constitutional. As for enforcement, however, I don't think anyone's going to see cops patrolling garage sales, so much as pawn-shops and places will be held criminally liable for not holding a paper-trail of transactions including suspicious items.
posted by Navelgazer at 2:36 PM on October 26, 2011


Guess I'll be spending more cash at the strip clubs than paying for online porn.

But would that qualify as second-hand goods under Louisiana law?

I'll show myself to the door, thanks.
posted by clorox at 3:02 PM on October 26, 2011 [4 favorites]


I'm going to take a wild guess and speculate that the Louisiana no-cash-for-secondhand-items idea is meant to keep people who often have an urgent reason to get cash quickly, and either no steady income or SUCH a big urgent reason that they spend their income as soon as they get it, from selling whatever they have on hand to get that cash.

I.e., no-cash-for-secondhand-items = slightly less chance a drug addict (or other addict, I suppose) will be able to get quick cash for a fix.

That's my wild guess; anyone else have ideas? (This is a pre-research guess on my way out the door from work; when I get home I'll do some lookin' and find out if I'm right.)
posted by gillyflower at 3:46 PM on October 26, 2011


gillyflower: "That's my wild guess; anyone else have ideas?"

It's to stop tweakers from stealing all the copper.
posted by mullingitover at 4:07 PM on October 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


on no-cash-for-second-hand-transactions: there is no end to the number of laws you can circumvent by claiming "I saved this money up over time" or "I sold a bunch of my stuff to get this money." Drugs, sure, but on the flipside of the coin is getting money from a relative to avoid taxes or pad your bank account for a mortgage approval. Money that can't be traced may come from many sources, and it is easier to outlaw the common excuses/alabis than it is to outlaw the sources (or rather to enforce the existing laws.) Or, in short, "where'd you get the $5000?" "I sold my furniture." "That may be true, or maybe you got it from selling drugs, but it doesn't matter because you illegally transacted in cash either way." A new twist on taxing drugs so you can get drug sellers either way...except much more likely to inconvenience or ensnare innocent people.

And hey, if the banks and credit card companies can skim a little off of every non-cash exchange that was made non-cash to avoid running afoul of the law...bonus!
posted by davejay at 4:12 PM on October 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


So the day cash is abolished you will be able to pay...
...if the electronic system isn't offline
... if it hasn't been emptied by a random hacker
... if you are allowed to pay at all, at bank/credit agent/law enforcement discretion.

Yet, the shadow banking system is perfectly kosher, the world financial system was crashed because of "out of the books" transactions (that is, not properly accounted for and not properly displayed)..but that's all fine and dandy, because "it's the market" so it MUST be good even if it's actually bad.

And were are the so called Republicans on this? If the government spies on you, bad goverment. If company X spies on you, that's fine, because they can't make mistakes out of greed, like accepting CDS and insuring against failure only because they knew they would have been bailed out.
posted by elpapacito at 4:29 PM on October 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Government outsourcing the Panopticon.... I wish I'd thought of that.
posted by mek at 5:00 PM on October 26, 2011


What about an "open-source" low-profit credit card for the 99%? Oh yeah, communism. Sorry.
posted by sneebler at 5:41 PM on October 26, 2011


What about an "open-source" low-profit credit card for the 99%? Oh yeah, communism. Sorry.

Bitcoin!
posted by delmoi at 5:44 PM on October 26, 2011


So the day cash is abolished you will be able to pay...
...if the electronic system isn't offline
... if it hasn't been emptied by a random hacker
... if you are allowed to pay at all, at bank/credit agent/law enforcement discretion.


Or if the place you're donating to isn't on someone's shitlist (i.e., Wikileaks, Palestine, etc.,)
posted by odinsdream at 5:49 PM on October 26, 2011


I'm as much against unsolicited advertising as the next guy -- maybe even moreso -- but I can also see the benefits of highly targeted ads for stuff I am statistically more likely to want to buy anyway.
posted by crunchland at 5:58 PM on October 26, 2011


Or maybe targeted ad will instead make you waste more money on stuff that poorly designed but advertised heavily, crunchland?
posted by jeffburdges at 6:04 PM on October 26, 2011


I'm glad I don't pay my bill anymore.
posted by pianomover at 6:15 PM on October 26, 2011


I don't know... If you buy a tivo and a kindle and ps3 games, maybe you're more likely to want to also buy an ipod, and oh by the way, here's a $10 off coupon. I can see how that's a very seductive proposition.
posted by crunchland at 6:16 PM on October 26, 2011


In completely unrelated news, Louisiana outlaws cash payments for secondhand goods.

I brought up this very issue in the last bitcoin thread.

These are the EXACT reasons the cypherpunks saw anonymous and distributed virtual currency as a necessary part of any truly private and democratic system.

I realize this is a community of diverse individuals with differing opinions, but I still don't understand why most users decry moves like this in one thread and then attack one of the only successful distributed virtual currency systems in another?

Acknowledging the usefulness of bitcoins doesn't mean you need to drink the libertarian kool-aid.

I sound like a broken record, but this shit is going to keep happening. Our privacy rights are going to only get further eroded.
posted by formless at 6:33 PM on October 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


I agree formless, Mefi is just easily triggered by libertarians, we have randroid-induced PTSD.
posted by mek at 7:18 PM on October 26, 2011


I feel like I'm living in a weird dystopian future sci-fi world, and a sick part of me is kind of enjoying it.
posted by LordSludge at 7:39 PM on October 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Screw this. Let's take all our money out of the banks like they did in the 20s.

/just kidding. that'd be economically self-sabotaging and we don't have the balls, anyway.

but is there really no way to opt out of this? and is this why republicans and corporate dems have been so relentlessly hell-bent on scuttling the new consumer protection agency that's supposed to make rules against stuff like this?
posted by saulgoodman at 8:08 PM on October 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


I feel like I'm living in a weird dystopian future sci-fi world, and a sick part of me is kind of enjoying it.

I often comment that it feels more and more like Brazil every day.
posted by mrgrimm at 8:45 PM on October 26, 2011


>I'm as much against unsolicited advertising as the next guy -- maybe even moreso -- but I can also see the benefits of highly targeted ads for stuff I am statistically more likely to want to buy anyway.<

I can’t. I was just going to ask if this actually worked for anyone.
I don’t want to see targeted ads. They are actually way more annoying than random ads, and
—I’ve never clicked on an ad, never bought anything from an ad, and I’m not going to—
There’s no way in hell I would buy anything from a targeted ad.

I just had to go to Amazon and unsubscribe from all emails because they wouldn't stop sending me an email about every single thing I looked at. So freaking annoying. I won’t buy anything from them anyway anymore because they’re so freaking annoying.
posted by bongo_x at 9:45 PM on October 26, 2011


I think most savvy people keep a spam trap email account for that purpose, bongo_x, ideally a second gmail account so you can just select all and hit 'mark as spam' periodically, thus helping gmail identify the spam for everyone else.
posted by jeffburdges at 9:56 PM on October 26, 2011


In completely unrelated news, Louisiana outlaws cash payments for secondhand goods.

I saw this headline yesterday and did a bit of reading.
Just to clarify.

The change in the law doesn't apply to retail purchases.
It prevents dealers from paying cash to their suppliers, and has exceptions for garage sales and such.

The justification I have heard is that it will give law enforcement a way to prosecute dealers/fences who are buying illegally salvaged copper. (Copper theft has apparently been an issue in NOLA.)

Still a shitty law, and Bobby Jindall can still go right ahead and fuck himself, but not exactly what it looks like from the headlines.
posted by St. Sorryass at 1:43 AM on October 27, 2011


The consumer outrage will last about as long as it takes them to buy a new Iphone.
posted by Theta States at 7:20 AM on October 27, 2011


From the start selling information link, "Plus, both MasterCard and Visa, which also collects that information, allow users to opt out of the data collection, if they so choose."

The article doesn't say how to opt-out. Anyone know?


Is this it? I found it pretty quickly upon web searching. I'm going to try it:

Mastercard Data Analytics Opt-Out
To opt-out from our anonymization of your personal information to perform data analyses please provide your MasterCard or Maestro payment card number below. You will have the ability to submit more than one card number as indicated on the confirmation page.
posted by Ery at 9:42 AM on October 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think most savvy people keep a spam trap email account for that purpose, bongo_x, ideally a second gmail account so you can just select all and hit 'mark as spam' periodically, thus helping gmail identify the spam for everyone else.

Good place as any to pimp Mailinator. Some sites won't accept it, but it's read-only mail with an email alias so that recipients can't read it (not that it matters, since it's full of mostly spam).

Though now that I think of it, that's not what you're talking about ... anyway.
posted by mrgrimm at 9:50 AM on October 27, 2011


It turns out that the Mastercard Data Analytics Opt-Out form, in the link I posted a few minutes ago, gives me an error message every time I try it.
posted by Ery at 9:51 AM on October 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


It turns out that the Mastercard Data Analytics Opt-Out form, in the link I posted a few minutes ago, gives me an error message every time I try it.

I believe this is working as designed.
posted by davejay at 9:01 PM on October 27, 2011


For what its worth, I was able to use it, and it did not generate an error. "Thank you. Your data analytics opt-out is being processed."
posted by crunchland at 9:15 PM on October 27, 2011


« Older This cake is not a lie   |   Orgy of the Dead Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments