Well, no, they're not.
As they scrambled recently to trace the source of a salmonella outbreak that has sickened hundreds around the country, investigators from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention successfully used a new tool for the first time — the shopper cards that millions of Americans swipe every time they buy groceries.Note the breathless adulation CDC gets in this article for being the White Knight riding to the rescue. MSM loves this stuff, its Government Working For You! Awesome.
With permission from the patients, investigators followed the trail of grocery purchases to a Rhode Island company that makes salami, then zeroed in on the pepper used to season the meat.
Never before had the CDC successfully mined the mountain of data that supermarket chains compile.
"It was really exciting. It was a break in the investigation for sure," CDC epidemiologist Casey Barton Behravesh said.
My question is, suppose this approach works very well a few more times? How long will it be until the CDC can get this data -without- your permission?