Jon Liebowitz, Chair of the FTC writes:
Let’s say I stop at the mall to pick up a new jacket. As I browse through the stores, I am followed by a man with a walkie-talkie, reporting on every item I look at and passing that information to the other stores in the mall. By the time I reach the third floor, out of a store pops a salesperson, holding exactly the madras jacket I want, in the red-and-yellow plaid I favor as well as in my size.
Disconcerting? A little. Convenient? Absolutely. I buy the jacket.
But what if the man with the walkie-talkie sells information about my shopping behavior to my health insurer, who raises my rates based on my purchase of a deep-fat fryer? Or to my bank, which turns down my refinancing application after I buy the book The Winner’s Guide to Casino Gambling?
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