You Should Worry About the Data Retailers Collect About You

Source: The Atlantic
by Ian Bogost

“It’s tempting to attribute savvy and even mystical intelligence to consumer data, as if big companies all have Minority Report–style clairvoyants ready to reveal your most sensitive thoughts before you’ve even thought to think them. The reality is, unfortunately, worse. Retail companies do collect massive volumes of terrifically sensitive data: demographic information, geographic location, websites you’ve visited, brick-and-mortar stories you have patronized, products you own, products you’ve browsed, products you’ve searched for, even products they think you might have looked at but passed over in the store. They do this not only to predict your future behavior, but to influence it. … Ordinary people may not realize just how much offline information is collected and aggregated by the shopping industry rather than the tech industry. In fact, the two work together to erode our privacy effectively, discreetly, and thoroughly.” (09/13/23)