Thursday, March 18, 2010

No, you are NOT being too paranoid.

I don't like customer loyalty cards. Too easy for Big Brother to use is my reason, plus I don't like the store having that much data on hand. Which in many people's opinion makes me a paranoid freak, possibly dangerous and certainly anti-social. Reason they give, the government "never uses those databases, they are private".

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.

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.

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.

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?

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