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Who's tracking my information?

edited May 2018 in Off-Topic
I decided to share this after seeing the thread on AT&T paying Cohen for information on Trump, but didn't want to hijack that thread. It is about how information is being extracted and being used. My recent experience literally left a sour taste in my mouth.

This is a True Story. Identities are not being disclosed to protect their privacy (and mine).

I have a card from my bank. Every time I go to Coffee and use it, within a couple of days I have an offer waiting for me online that says "if you accept this offer, and then go back to Coffee within X days you will get Y% cashback".

X is mostly reasonable. Y is quite substantial, at least 5%. Sometimes 10%. The bank is tracking where I'm spending my money. It is not as if bank is collecting information they otherwise wouldn't have. Of course they have to know the Merchant I'm spending money at or it couldn't process the transaction. Then, they are applying some AI over it and making an "offer" that can save me some money. Cannot find too much fault with that.

At this time it is important to note that I don't get offers on a regular basis in this fashion. The regularly scheduled offers I get are at those Merchants I do NOT patronize. The "come see us again" offers I get are for Merchants I DO patronize. The AI algorithms are obviously being run as soon as the transaction posts against my Account. If I do not visit a Merchant for several months I do NOT 't get a "it's been a while since you visited us" offer.

Now, just last week I went to get some Pizza. Haven't had for a few months because getting bit health conscious (and don't tell my better half, she was out of town and does not know). Of course, I didn't have any cashback offers since like I explained above it had been a while since I had Pizza. Like in above example I'm used to getting offer from my bank whenever I use my card to pay for the Pizza. Sure enough, I have an offer waiting for me now online. Just what I would have expected, except for one small problem. I did NOT use my card to pay for the Pizza. I paid Cash.

HTF did Bank know I had Pizza? I didn't use my CC. Then, how ??? One Single Malt down, my brain started working...

Pizza has AI.
Pizza "recognized" who I was from my "Frequent Pizza" card (buy 12 get 1 free) when I paid Cash.
Pizza ran AI on my transactions and saw I had not visited them a looonnnng time.
Pizza saw I use by Bank CC to pay for Pizza (it doesn't matter I didn't use it the last time I visited)
Pizza thought I might have found another Pizza because I hadn't visited for a long time.
Pizza wanted to incentivize me to visit them again.
Pizza shared the fact I bought Pizza with my Bank to trigger cashback offer to lure me back.

When did I sign rights to my privacy to Pizza as a condition of eating Pizza?
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Comments

  • Nobody cares !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    :(
  • Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not watching you. It's been going on forever, "they" are just getting "better" at it.

    Too obvious I know: Somebody's Watching Me

  • I guess I care because AI is more interesting to me than Ted's bet on the derby.
  • edited May 2018
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  • @VintageFreak: The moral of your story is stay at home, eat lentils, and don't try to contravene your wife's good judgement. The AI stuff is scary, I agree.
  • "Nobody cares"

    @Ted: Wrong again. Since you seem to think that you are "everybody", I suggest that mental help may be in order here.
  • edited May 2018
    [email protected]
    For your listed "choices", I'm going with this one.

    --- Pizza "recognized" who I was from my "Frequent Pizza" card (buy 12 get 1 free) when I paid Cash.

    >>>If this is a simple paper card with a scratch off box that you have now purchased "x" numbers of pizzas, then I can't readily explain how your bank is aware of your purchase.
    Now, if this is card is electronic in some fashion (supposedly to enter your transaction in the pizza joint files); then there would likely exist an electronic sharing agreement between the vendor (hereforth, named "pizza joint" and the bank.
    Not unlike that funny like paper statement issued with cards about who the issuer may share data with..........
    OR, the pizza joint is using facial recognition video capture equipment.:) I don't think most simple retail firms are at this point yet.
    'Course, your pizza joint could be an ongoing "sting" for something or other, and the building does contain very sophisticated electronic devices. Do you ever see the same white maintenance van parked nearby, you know the type; a cargo van with strange looking roof racks ?????
  • edited May 2018
    Can you say technology.

    It's simple, the $100.00 bill you used was chipped with GPS tracking and since you got the bill from the bank it was followed until you spent it. Now, its travels will continued to be followed along with how many times it changes hands until it is removed from circulation.

    I've even heard of plans where currency held for more than a certain period of time will lose value if not spent.

    Seems ... "Big Brother" might be watching more than thought.

    https://www.cbsnews.com/news/how-banks-track-your-money/

    And, another link ... Where's George?

    https://www.wheresgeorge.com
  • edited May 2018
    @VintageFreak's story makes me livid, because I know damn well it's happening to me, too. It's happening to us ALL. But when will the public:
    -put down their phones and pay attention, because they are DRIVING A CAR??? ("Hey, idiot: the light is GREEN.")

    - demand privacy laws that work for you and me from legislators, rather than "privacy" laws that just let businesses and organizations (AND POLITICIANS) IGNORE our right to privacy??? And "privacy" laws which just make things easy for THEM, but difficult for you and me???

    .... What about NOW? Are you all happy by NOW that we put the effing MACHINES in charge?????

    Hello, I'm Winston Smith. And Big Brother IS watching everything I do. (SHIT!)
    (Go straight to 0:45)

    (And just one very important side-note: to save himself, Parsons turns on Smith. "Take him instead of me." At the end of the story, it is Smith who turns on his beloved Julia. The truth is that we all do this to each other in a million small or big ways, every single day. It is a thing called capitalism. To make a buck, you must USE someone else. Maybe just take their money. Or maybe outfit A wants to know what you do and where you spend, so they pay outfit B to find out. PRIVACY IS ALREADY DEAD. Or maybe Person C or Company D will really want to screw you. Anyone buy a car lately? In fact, we now PRESUME you are a criminal, until you prove otherwise, before we will HIRE you. I refer to what's commonly called the "CORI check.")
  • BenWP said:

    @VintageFreak: The moral of your story is stay at home, eat lentils, and don't try to contravene your wife's good judgement. The AI stuff is scary, I agree.

    AI is not crazy. People are crazy.
    The only way to stop crazy people with AI, is to use our Natural Intelligence.
    The problem is that I think Natural Intelligence is in scarce supply replaced by Greed. Today's definition of the word "Research" means I search TWICE on Google. Search, then Research. Now I am an expert.

    Now let me go write a book, "How I learnt to love Lentils and stop Identity Theft" and get rich.
  • edited May 2018
    catch22 said:

    [email protected]
    For your listed "choices", I'm going with this one.

    --- Pizza "recognized" who I was from my "Frequent Pizza" card (buy 12 get 1 free) when I paid Cash.


    It does not even have to be that sophisticated, I don't think. They take your name when you call in the Pizza. That itself is enough I think. Regardless, I can't really prove anything. It can easily be proven by lawyers I got the offer because of some OTHER AI algorithm and it was pure co-incidence.

    I've admitted before, I'm cynical, paranoid, and every thing else. However, I don't see anything in this world that makes me want to change that. Maybe I will live a less happier life, and maybe not even a long one because of the associated stress. I just want to live long enough knowing me and my family are "safe".

    Honestly, I have never truly recovered from my episode of identity theft now over 20 years back. Those 2 years of hell, changed me as a person, and there's no going back.
  • Old_Skeet said:

    Can you say technology.

    It's simple, the $100.00 bill you used was chipped with GPS tracking and since you got the bill from the bank it was followed until you spent it. Now, its travels will continued to be followed along with how many times it changes hands until it is removed from circulation.

    I've even heard of plans where currency held for more than a certain period of time will lose value if not spent.

    Seems ... "Big Brother" might be watching more than thought.

    Man, that's total kafka, sci-fi:-(

  • Hi @VintageFreak
    You noted:
    "Honestly, I have never truly recovered from my episode of identity theft now over 20 years back. Those 2 years of hell, changed me as a person, and there's no going back."

    >>>I understand this, but not to your extent. Three years ago we received "the letter" from the IRS. Basically, someone else is attempting to obtain a refund against your IRS tax filings. 'Course, this was shared with our state, too. We now receive "PIN" numbers each year to include with our filings. Early this year, we received a postcard from our state.....with several questions.
    Did you file last year's return with a refund of "x" dollars. So, the state is apparently still trying to discover who we and others really are.....
    ADD NOTE: I contacted (mail) our state Treasury department and expressed concern that they would be placing such detailed information on a postcard. YES !, a postcard through the mail for anyone to read. And these folks wonder how things go wrong !!!
    Sad !
  • edited May 2018
    @Crash et al

    "Freaked out!"
    Over the years this phrase could imply various meanings depending upon the person or situation; and yes, the term is still in play in today's high schools.

    So, take a peek at this to place those tingles up your spine. Peek at in this case is to read and also play the video.

    ADDED NOTE: NO ! Catch22 is not an A.I. generated concept here at MFO.:)
    I not only drink coffee, but also pee out the filtered remaining fluid.

    http://www.news.com.au/technology/innovation/design/silicon-valley-is-ethically-lost-staunch-backlash-over-googles-latest-ai-capability/news-story/ba38ea9c75e01a30e04ff3aaa86a1291
  • edited May 2018
    @catch22. Yes I saw that video.

    Everything starts with best intentions. Google Maps is one such innovation. IT ACTUALLY benefits the consumer because if there's an accident Google will automatically direct driver to take another route.

    And now, getting a Robot to impersonate a Person to schedule a haircut, is a toy for the rich. Pretty soon a robot at one end will schedule appointment with robot at other end. Then one day robot will actually show up for haircut too

    And then the rich twits will be rolling on the floor laughing at the barber trying to cut the robots hair.

    Then one day the barber will ALSO be a robot!!!

    So on that day we will have self sufficient robots who schedule their own appointments to cut their own fake hair by another robot. But wait, the fake hair is not really fake, it is actual human hair, because the human is long gone. There is no money to be saved by creating artificial hair made of plastic because Silicon Valley believes that would not be very environmentally friendly.

    [email protected]#$%^&*

    "We think AI can help with this problem." ??? Imagine a day where you cannot book a haircut appointment because you don't have a computer or the barber does not have one. "We will make the technology and you HAVE to buy this technology".
  • @Ted (et al) The answer is pretty clear: "Who cares?" is MANYMANY and (hopefully growing).
    We are all living in a new world where a huge fraction (and growing constantly) of what we do is scraped up and fed into computers>>data bases. Even seemingly trivial acts end up in a data base (read: "bases") that we will never see and fed into algorithms -- which may be either "crazy" or "scarily predictive" -- which are then sold freely to compilers & sellers of "behaviour models". In another decade or so
    our every move/thought/transaction will be transparently clear to anyone seeking information to insert into another model. (Think you are safe as an outlier (I'm so different nobody will bother caring what I do or think ) -- hahahaha.) Even today you might be shocked to learn how much information about you and what you do/think/choose is in data bases available to anyone willing to pay...
  • Used a link from Ted, see above. target date funds & got tracked for CD, saving rate in my area ! WOW !!
    Derf


  • "They take your name when you call in the Pizza. That itself is enough I think. "
    I give them Smith. Does it really help to protect my identity? It can't hurt.


  • edited May 2018
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  • Yessir.
  • @Crash
    If one was able to place a pizza order from a pay phone...okay. But, cell phone may be aligned with "other"; land line lower on the list, but may linked eventually.

    @Old_Joe Yup, all browser history cleared several times a day here. Makes for more time for logins, but tis okay. With this and using VPN, our normal personal investment sites that require login have started (last several months) to ask all the security questions and whether to remember the computer being used. At least once a week, I can not login (1 or more sites) without requesting a one-time 6 digit code, sent to the pc email listed in the account or via a text message to the cell phone.
  • @catch22: Chuck started to do the later of which you mentioned in above post. After 2 or 3 times this stopped . Vanguard is pushing for this also, but haven't had to do this as of late.
    Good investing,
    Derf
  • edited May 2018
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  • edited May 2018
    @Maurice
    Not knowing your car make; but for those with GM or related with "OnStar", a Google of "how to disable OnStar" reveals several how-to video and written instructions. From my reading, this disable will not affect other normal functions.
    ADD: locate is not turned on within our phones
  • Hmmmmm. I recall being north of the border last summer, on vacation. I had my phone with me. I have a US-only plan. I can receive calls from Canada, but cannot dial calls to Canada, myself. I noticed that the battery needed to be charged more often than normal. A-ha! The phone was continually attempting to find a US signal, but could not do it. Location, location, location. We are indeed living in Orwell's "1984."
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  • msf
    edited May 2018
    I've refrained from substantially commenting because it's hard to put the genie back in the bottle, and my reaction is largely one of blaming the victim. In short, where has everybody been for decades?

    Organizations like EPIC and the ACLU have been warning about national ID cards for decades. Because a universal ID would make it easy to combine data from disparate sources and build personal profiles. Given the current state of technology, companies being thwarted by the lack of an ID sounds quaint now.

    When the banking laws were changed (pre-9/11) to require banks to validate your identity for accounts (usually via SSN), the banks lobbied for and got an exception for credit cards. Banks still have to validate your identity, but for a CC it's permissible for them to use something other than SSN. The banks were afraid that too many customers would balk at providing their SSN (as I did for decades). Sounds quaint now.

    Millennials have not only been willing to trade personal information for services, but freely broadcast to advertisers videos of what they eat for breakfast. "They tell us they don’t care, that it’s all about sharing.” Sounds quaint now.

    Often when there is pushback, it is toward the government exclusively. For example, here's EFF's latest report, Who Has Your Back? Government Data Requests 2017. EFF still gives Facebook 4 out of 5 stars. Facebook doesn't turn over information about you to the government on demand; it just sells it to anyone who pays.

    So what do I do? Everything and nothing. I don't hand out my SSN unless required by law (and haven't for decades). I almost never turn on my (feature) cellphone. I never put anything online that I don't expect to persist forever or be traced back to me.

    On the other hand, I'm not especially careful about online tracking. I must be doing something right - I've wound up on both Bernie Sanders' and Donald Trump's email lists. If you can't completely turn off the spigot of personal information, overwhelm them with conflicting data:-)

    I'd hoped that multinationals might take privacy more seriously because of EU regulations. So far, that hasn't happened. Ultimately, I feel that only when large numbers of people push for change will anything significant happen. Why did it take so long to get to that point?
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  • edited May 2018
    @msf et al
    In the way back days, when one had a subscription to a magazine or newspaper, and generally speaking, at least for our house, the subscription was paid by paper check.
    I was aware of companies selling a mailing list to boost cash flow.
    I decided to experiment (started 36 years ago) when renewal time arrived. A middle initial was never a requirement, only a first name/initial and last name. 'Course, one could choose whatever, too.
    So, for about 10 publications at renewal time, I added a middle initial to my name to reflective the publication name.....as in, Barron's becomes middle initial "B".
    Apparently, very few (about 20%) sold my name; or there was no interest in using "me" as a cash source. One publication must have placed/sold my name to the master mother of all lists; as I started to receive lots of mail. After two years, this tapered quite a bit. But, I continued to receive periodic mail and for the last time in 2016 I did receive mail with one particular fake middle initial. Obviously, some stuff floats around for a long time.

    Add: Google sent a mail yesterday (Sat., May 12) that due to privacy law changes in the EU, Google would also be changing privacy rules here, too. I have not read all of the connective links to understand the changes; but presume there will be more protective settings for the citizen. Now being the person I am, I also know that what ever needs to be obtained, can be obtained from one's internet travels.
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