How Loyalty Cards And E-ZPass Use Your Personal Data Against You
Private companies (and the gov’t – NSA) are collecting your personal data like never before.
Why should you care?
Because the information can hurt you.
Grocery stores, pharmacies, and almost every other store offer discounts when you sign up for their loyalty cards. But every time you swipe your card, your purchases are recorded for marketing purposes (or for personal profiling by the NSA).
These records of the things you buy are being sold to other industries, including health insurance companies who may use them to evaluate your rates based on your food and nonprescription drug purchases, etc. You may be simply buying stuff for a friend or a party, etc., but the database still logs you as the end user.
Best thing is to not to sign up. But if you do, avoid giving your full name when you sign up for a card. Many stores apparently let you sign up anonymously as “Store Customer.”
We obviously live in an electronic world of many conveniences. But the problem is that your electronic footprints could be used against you – especially as more technological advancements enable tracking and logging your every purchase, from cradle to grave. While there are definite conveniences, there are also risks. Be conscious of them.
This technology was created to help speed traffic flow and decrease congestion at tollbooths. But it has been rumored that several states are considering using this technology to issue speeding tickets – if you travel too quickly between tolls on a highway! In effect, you can get a speeding ticket even if you don’t get caught speeding.
Although I cannot verify that any municipality is actually doing this today, I can verify that they could if they wanted to. The technology is simple, and countless millions of commuters have these devices in their vehicles. Given the direction of our general ‘Police State’, some day…
Additionally, E-ZPass records have been turned over to law enforcement to track people’s where-abouts, and have been subpoenaed in civil lawsuits.
Use your E-ZPass selectively. Remove it periodically and/or use cash at toll-booths. Whenever the pass is not in use, make sure you keep it in your glove compartment in the special pouch that came with it (which effectively makes it invisible to scanners).
There are LOTS more examples how technology could be used against us, and could even be considered an invasion of our privacy and freedoms.
The 4th Amendment to our Constitution expresses the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects…shall not be violated.
We have a right to privacy but it is diminishing right under our noses. As the majority go along willingly, they are overlooking the potential pitfalls of too much information in the hands of those who may not use it to the best of their interest.
We should all be ‘opted out’ by default. We should not have to take action to opt-out. We should have to take action to opt-in. A problem is that most people only see the convenience and do not read or understand the fine print (or simply don’t care).
In today’s world it is quite difficult (impossible) to truly remain un-tracked. The best we can do is to minimize our electronic footprints by simply being aware of them as we make our way through any given day, and making decisions which will help maintain some anonymity.
Personally, while I do enjoy the conveniences of some of our technological advancements, I am cognizant of those which could potentially build profiles and patterns. In the future as our ‘norms’ change (what we consider acceptable or normal), who’s to say that ‘they’ (whoever they may be) won’t look back at one’s ‘profile’ which may have been perfectly acceptable (back then) but is no longer the case (in the future). Then (in the future) you may be suddenly guilty (of past behavior), or become a target of suspicion, etc. You get what I mean?
No, I don’t think it’s paranoia – although some might think so. I’m simply a skeptic, and having lived long enough to witness some pretty major changes in our way of life, our politics, what we all consider ‘normal’, etc., I can easily conceive how our future can (will) become extremely scrutinized (by our Police State politics, electronic footprints, patterns, movements, etc.), and it could very easily (one day) be used against us (if you are venturing outside the ‘norm’, or criticizing or challenging ‘the system’, things like that…).
Why make it easy for them?