Who Collects It?
Marketers. More and more advanced techniques have been developed to compile extremely targeted marketing lists about consumers. A quick search on the Internet for “marketing lists” will show you just how many are available.
Websites. When you visit a website, information can be gathered about you in a variety of ways — either by information you provide voluntarily or using techniques to indirectly detect information about your usage. Generally, personally identifiable information isn’t gathered in a widespread way.
Store clerks. Can you remember a time when you were asked your zip code or phone number when you made a purchase? They didn’t really need that information. But it helped the store compile a profile of your purchasing habits to be used for marketing purposes — and it may have been sold to others. Be careful when giving out your personal information. Only give what is absolutely necessary.
Warranty cards. Information obtained from warranty cards may be used for marketing purposes.
Grocery store loyalty cards. Many claim that the personal data and shopping information collected by supermarket companies from loyalty cards violates privacy rights and doesn’t even save consumers money.
New identification systems. Numerous institutions, including several airlines, have begun working on plans for identification systems that would rely on background checks, fingerprints, iris scans, and high-tech IDs to verify individuals’ identities and speed security screening at places such as airports.