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12 Ways Companies Are Spying On Us Daily

August 7, 2012

We are all aware that companies use electronic consumer data to tailor their marketing strategies. The question is: How much do they know about you?

Come to think of it, more often than not, I get asked at any check-out: “postal code? phone number? age?”

What Dirt do Companies have on You?

More than you can imagine. A vast array of personal information can be gathered by data from public archives, such as courts, police records, airlines, credit card companies, retail stores, insurance agencies, mobile providers, banks, pharmacies, search engines, websites, social networks, you get the picture. Be aware of how much of your personal information can be retrieved from public archives:

  • Full Name
  • Home Address
  • Email Address
  • Telephone Numbers
  • Age/Date of Birth
  • Court Records
  • Arrests
  • Convictions
  • Birth Certificates
  • Marriage Certificates
  • Death Certificates
  • Social Insurance Number

NATIONAL BANK OF CANADA released the following article under Clear Facts, written by David Pye, March 9, 2012:

12 ways companies are spying on us daily

As outlined in a Business Insider report, data mining has become a $100 billion industry as major corporations use increasingly sophisticated statistical analysis to better target their customers.

According to a book called “Brandwashed”, written by Martin Lindstrom, here are 12 of the most intrusive ways we’re being watched on a daily basis:

  1. Stores use customer loyalty cards to track and predict customer spending habits;
  2. Information stored in your online dating profile can be sold to other companies;
  3. Every credit card transaction provides companies with information about your spending habits;
  4. Mobile loyalty apps are convenient, but they’re designed to provide the companies with more data to track you;
  5. Facebook uses software to track user activity on sites across the Internet;
  6. Companies use cookies to monitor your Internet search habits;
  7. Digital coupons include bar codes that may include your IP address;
  8. Online music providers commonly share your personal information with third parties;
  9. While Walmart allows customers to cash their paychecks, the required driver’s license and Social Security data you provide ends up in the company’s digital database;
  10. Retailers and supermarkets track your physical movements in stores using video cameras and motion detectors aimed at helping them create better customer experiences;
  11. High-tech electronic meters allow utilities to view their customer’s power consumption in real time;
  12. From the parking lot to the checkout counter, every part of the supermarket experience is designed to make you spend money and buy more food than you need.

And then there is the Internet. It should be obvious to you that what you say and do online is public, and could come back to haunt you. Any data broker is able to collect a huge amount of information on you and then sell it for his financial gain. Guess where that information may come from:

  • Every website you visit
  • Google searches
  • Forum comments
  • Blog posts
  • Tweets
  • Search results that include your data
  • Aliases, usernames, nicknames
  • Online purchase history
  • Data about your Facebook friends
  • Facebook likes
  • Geolocation data via mobile apps

So remember, you are being watched. Be careful about what you say and what you do online. Almost nothing online is private. While the Internet is an amazing tool, our privacy has gone to the wayside!

If you don’t have a security system, are not happy with your current security provider or don’t have your system  monitored, call me for a free, no-obligation consultation. You will be glad you did!

Ulli Robson, Security Specialist, (780) 288-2986

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