business news in context, analysis with attitude

The New York Times reports that while technologically driven “retail innovations help companies identify their most profitable client segments, better predict the deals shoppers will pursue, fine-tune customer service down to a person and foster brand loyalty ... these and other surveillance techniques are also reminders that advances in data collection are far outpacing personal data protection.

“Enter the post-privacy society, where we have lost track of how many entities are tracking us. Not to mention what they are doing with our personal information, how they are storing it, whom they might be selling our dossiers to and, yes, how much money they are making from them.

“On the way out, consumer advocates say, is that quaint old notion of informed consent, in which a company clearly notifies you of its policies and gives you the choice of whether to opt in (rather than having you opt out once you discover your behavior is being tracked).”
KC's View:
The problem - or at least potential problem - seems to be that there is no real regulation of how much personal information is gathered and how it is used and shared with various organizations. The notion that dossiers can be constructed by marketers that then share this information and create enormous databases of information is, to be honest, more than a little scary. There are benefits to consumers, but also potential downsides.

If nothing else, it seems like I’ve seen this scenario before - in one of many science fiction movies that positioned the individual against the state.

Life imitates art.