I read this fascinating article today about data mining. It describes how data mining customer purchase data at Target can give them enough insight to predict if a customer is pregnant and their likely due date!
As society moves away from cash this will become even easier. Credit card companies mine their customer purchase data to identify fraud. There are even cases where data mining is used to adjust a customer’s credit limit.
The most interesting part of the article on Target was their remedy to complaints of being “too creepy.” They made their targeted coupon books look a bit more random, putting lawn mowers next to diapers, to trick customers into thinking they hadn’t been spied on.
Companies are getting more creative on ways to track you. Google was just caught bypassing browser security to track it’s users using Safari. It makes me wonder what they’ve built into their Chrome browser. Is there really a way to be “Incognito?” It seems unlikely.