Data Collection of your Health & Medical data, Pharmacy and Privacy

In the USA pharmacies and grocery stores make you sign up to get pretty good discount deals- I’m a rural bargain hunter so naturally I sign up for these. Well… a totally different company sent me an advertisement based on my shopping done at the pharmacy. Let’s just say it was a little too personally chosen- how they would know I was interested in their companies services products. I was totally offended.

We’re titalky roped into paying fir marketing through using coupons now… sickening…

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Yes, this is absolutely gross. Nowadays for everything we do, we are invited to sign up, download an app, etc, etc. Whenever there is no obvious purpose, we should decline as this seems in most cases to be a pretext to further monetize customers.

How nice it would be to be able to quickly check somewhere whether the purposes are innocent or not. I am sure that will come as people are increasingly becoming aware of privacy issues. In the meantime, better stay safe. If it just takes 1 minute to sign up for something to enjoy 10% discounts, it’s probably too good to be true.

There’s always a catch. Let’s say Amazon asks you to sign up for a new “club”, for free, and which would give you discounts on your preferred items? That would be suspicious. Amazon Prime, on the other hand, asks for money upfront. Seems more legitimate already.

This is easy to fix:

Your name: Stop Tracking Your Customers
Your address: Company headquarters address
Your phone: Fake number
Your age: 105

And actually at these stores you don’t even need a card. Put in the phone numbers of your (possibly consenting) friends / family members who have their own cards and you’ll magically get the discount as well. I find this funny as thousands of people could use the same phone number linked to one card, and then the marketers would really be confused.


@Free. Yes that’s a great idea… For this one they got my home address from my credit card because I don’t give out anything but my email for these discounts… it’s a daisy chain of invasions.

Yes, but note that this is strategy that can easily backfire.

Your medical information is among the most high-value stuff - the data gold - that is out there (next to your financials). The companies that collect it are deeply hooked into the ‘datasphere’, and it would be easy for them to know who you are, regardless of the information you fill in (e.g. by your IP, unique ID’s and browser fingerprint).

Providing false information could then lead to you being automatically (by algorithms, no humans involved) marked as untrustworthy, ‘prone to lying’ in your ‘psycho’ profile. The automatic nature of this is most dangerous, because whereas a human might conclude you provided the false information to protect your privacy, an algorithm might not come to that conclusion and place you on some black list. Once there - without you even knowing it - it is near impossible to remove yourself from it.

And it will have consequences in all kinds of places. E.g. only yesterday there was a Hacker News discussion on how your profile data determines how long you have to wait on the phone for Customer Service (see here). This is just one example, but you could imagine how the derived/aggregated ‘Reliability rating’ could play a factor in the amount of service you receive (these support people won’t have knowledge of how that rating was produced).

So be careful with that strategy, I’d say :slight_smile:

Sounds like science fiction, but could be relevant if you would want to work for the government or a corporation which might use your profile to see how well your cog fits into their machine. Still for the most part I doubt any place where I custom would care to put me on a black list, that would just be one less customer on top of a potential public relations disaster.

Black lists are now in widespread use in China. And probably there are all kinds of blacklists - large and small - all around the world. But as a word choice it may be a bit strong, and therefore might lead to the conclusion that you probably won’t end up on one. Let’s keep it with an aggregate data profile, where you cannot determine anymore how the data was obtained, and - more importantly - whether it is correct or not. Both governments and corporations tend to put too much trust in the conclusions that roll out of automated (AI) systems.

Funny you say this- because I’ve often wondered whether kids might be blacklisted from good government jobs later in life based on internet behavior.

I really do think we must preserve our privacy at ALL costs- this is the essence of being human- that we can have disease and malformed thoughts as we develop as a human. It is a human right to make errors and learn from them and to have full privacy against people knowing our medical history- because let’s face it there will be discrimination issues in our world.