Facebook follows you into the drugstore

September 24, 2012 § 1 Comment

By now I think most people understand that everything they do or say on Facebook will be recorded. And I’ve already written about how banks are poking around your Facebook profile and activity. But there’s a new development underway that takes intrusive analytics to the next level: Facebook is now “partnering” with data aggregators such as Datalogix to link your offline purchases with your online profile.

Datalogix has purchasing data from about 70m American households largely drawn from loyalty cards and programmes at more than 1,000 retailers, including grocers and drug stores. By matching email addresses or other identifying information associated with those cards against emails or information used to establish Facebook accounts, Datalogix can track whether people bought a product in a store after seeing an ad on Facebook.

This is yet another reason to use a variety of different email addresses for your online and offline activities, and to only provide the bare minimum of requested information when registering for a site or offline program. While it’s not foolproof, it does help reduce the ease of the cross-system joins that are at the heart of many of these privacy-eroding analytic schemes.

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§ One Response to Facebook follows you into the drugstore

  • Rob Hafker says:

    Rob Schneider makes an excellent point and while drugstores are prohibited from sharing prescription and medical information due to HIPPA laws, front of store purchases very often give indications to a customer’s health or medical condition in a way that allows for truly intrusive mining of personal and private information. Thanks Rob for highlighting this further attack on our right to the privacy of our personal information.

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