Top of mind this week is the personal information trail everyone leaves when they shop. Maybe it’s because Air Canada’s purchase of Aeroplan has me thinking about how, if you use technology to track purchases, detailed and sensitive profiles can easily be created. And those profiles are obviously worth something. Did you see the purchase price for that particular loyalty program?
When I purchase wine and beer at my local LCBO (the government-owned liquor stores in Ontario), I usually bring along my Airmiles card to collect a few pennies’ worth of rewards. It occurs to me that the AI machines at Airmiles must think I have a drinking problem or that I entertain a lot (the latter would be correct). Is that trade-off worth it? Could my purchase history of alcohol ever come back to bite me?
Also in the news this week is a CBC article that explores what it’s going to take in Ontario to buy recreational marijuana starting Oct. 17. Because physical stores won’t be ready, the drug will have to be purchased online and that necessarily means giving up some personal information. While it appears it is going to be limited, and everyone is saying that the privacy rules are going to be followed, it is another example of how someone’s retail habits can be turned into a sensitive profile.
I wonder if Airmiles is going to get in on that deal, too? And, if they do, will people voluntarily have their weed-buying practices tracked?
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