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?
EZ pass I just don’t use… I don’t trust the govt since 2008….
The Grocery Store and other loyalty cards- While I use them, I never use my real name, age, address and phone number, etc. Instead, I just make them up when I fill out the form. It is become a game of disinformation now….
In addition, I have seen many EZ Tag readers on roads that may be near, but not part of, the toll road system. Thus, they are tracking you even when you are not using the toll road system.
The libs often say things like, “If you are doing nothing wrong then what are you trying to hide?”
My favorite response is, “I have nothing to hide, but I DO have something to protect.”
I can’t recall where I read these articles, but in the past couple yrs, there have been a few claiming…
-companies find ways to access some of these (food purchases/drug purchase etc), to assess “health risk”/”health accountability on employees…(-is a diabetic eating right?/ Is someone getting their prescribed meds filled regularly, to indicate they are being regularly used? etc.)…
both for current employees and to assess health on potential employees..
-besides the above written about “obvious” sources of info for Companies re employees/ Insurance Companies re Policies / etc etc, there is another portal for info, that I have seen News stories on, at least ten times in past few years…
There will be a news report of a laptop being stolen from a “Doctor’s” car. Said laptop will mysteriously / questionably recently been downloaded with ALL the patient data for the past ten/fifteen/twenty five years. ALL.
there is always some sort of comment from the hospital “oh, it won’t happen again. oh the Doctor was going to write a paper” etc.. Me, I can’t/do not believe anyone legitimately downloads ALL the patient data for the past ten to thirty yrs, with good intent. too weird.
some of us have discussed these (as I say at least ten news reports from major cities across the U.S. and Canada. Likely many more than I recall)..
the reasons we can come up with for the reason this massive amount of data is being stolen are someone/some group/some company is buying it-
-benefits (health) companies
-typing for organ needs
I read about this a lot.
However, my husband and I got loyalty cards for Kroger’s without giving any information.
When asked for new ones, the cashier just reached under the table and handed us two.
We tore them off and use them often.
No info was given.
As Thinker said below, they just attach your anonymous loyalty card to your payment identity. Then they know everything you buy, and your banking info, and home address. Usually you’ll start to get targeted ads in the mail that appear to be generic but are targeted specifically at you…they’ll put items they know you’re interested in hidden among random items so it doesn’t appear like they targeted you. I read an article detailing how they even know a woman is pregnant because she’ll start buying prenatal items, then they’ll target the ad with those items and time the type of products advertised depending how far along her pregnancy should be. As the statistician who wrote the software tells the story…Target mailed prenatal coupons to a teenager and her father went to the store and complained to the manager who apologized profusely. Later in questioning his daughter if she signed up for the coupons, she revealed that she was pregnant. That’s why they now hide the targeted items among general merchandise…so it won’t appear as an invasion of your privacy—won’t creep you out.
FYI…don’t use a credit or debit card with your “anonymous” shopper card or they can be linked. This includes at the gas pump if your shopper card offers fuel savings.
I don’t see how using a card at a gas pump can be divulging any information that will get you on a govt. list of preppers.
We all buy gas!
I use cash for gas. Using a gas card or debit card or any card will attach you to a place and time. I have nothing to hide. But f-them.
I am the same, cash for everything, and I also use disinformation :)
Good for you! The additional advantage of using cash is that it helps to control your spending. For some reason, when you buy things with cash, you are more likely to really evaluate your purchase compared to using electronic currency.
Here is another reason to use your cell phone often: