Sunday, January 11, 2004

Article: Loyalty cards plus legwork can track beef buying

The Seattle Times: Loyalty cards plus legwork can track beef buying: Loyalty cards raise quite a few privacy issues. Many people worry about what is done with information that is collected through their use and many people assume the worst about the practices of companies that operate the cards. (See CASPIAN - Consumers Against Supermarket Privacy Invasion and Numbering.) Almost all the discussions I've seen revolve around privacy and marketing. This article from this morning's Seattle Times puts a very interesting spin on what can be done with information that may be collected when consumers use their loyalty cards.

"Sunday, January 11, 2004
By Carol M. Ostrom, Seattle Times staff reporter

If you use a supermarket loyalty card, the store knows a lot about what you buy. But can you use that card to find out if you bought recalled meat from the nation's first mad cow?

Not very easily, say supermarket chains that use such cards, which include the Safeway Club Card, QFC Advantage Card and Albertsons Preferred Savings Card. "

On the subject of loyalty programs, The Public Interest Advocacy Centre's website contains some materials (See their privacy page at to their complaint about (alleged) inadequate consent against the Air Miles program, among other respondents. Most interestingly, they have published the full text of the findings of the Commissioner, which are ususally only released in abbreviated form.

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