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Big Brother's Pizza Delivery 82

Dusty Rhodes writes: "Lexis/Nexis, providers of massive database information services mostly to media, legal and law enforcement organizations, is hyping their new database service, BatchTrace, to track fugitives and deadbeats. In addition to cataloging common info such as census records, driver's license records, etc., this database includes pizza delivery records, tech support call records and grocery store discount card records. Who knew you'd need an alias to order a pizza? Pretty funny/sad stuff in the Land of the Free. What's next, a national pizza delivery ID, complete with thumbprint and DNA sample? Thanks to Britt Sandusky for pointing us to this story."
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Big Brother's Pizza Delivery

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  • by dpilot ( 134227 ) on Friday August 09, 2002 @11:46AM (#4039691) Homepage Journal
    When "Big Brother" and "Pizza Delivery" come together, normally some sort of obligatory reference to Snow Crash is required.

    But in this case, there's actually something interesting to be questioned. The subject article comes from the credit history angle, for purposes like trying to locate deadbeats. But take the more sinister view and add "financial profiling." How about checking takeout orders, but instead of looking for pizza look for Halaal food? Of course only sleeper-cells would order take-out Halaal. (for Halaal, think Kosher, only for Muslims)

  • "... and grocery store discount card records."

    I stopped going to Safeway, since they use discount cards rather than just giving customers the price at which they want to sell without expecting to track them.

    (Discount cards do NOT provide discounts. The grocery store always sells at the price they want to sell. They merely increase the price so that people will get cards, and can then be tracked, especially if they ever use a credit or debit card in connection with a purchase.)

    I've started shopping at WinCo Foods instead. They have much lower prices, and they don't do sneaky things. WinCo Foods [wincofoods.com] stores are located in California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Nevada.

    Did Safeway think that there would be no cost for them in tracking the customer?

    I've noticed that abusive companies eventually disappear, or almost disappear. At one time IBM had 90% of the PC market, but they tried to trap customers with a proprietary bus system. At one time Novell had 85% of the PC network market, but they didn't care that their software had a lot of quirks. At one time PC Magazine was a large bi-weekly magazine, but they seemed to favor some companies in their test results. If you believe these examples are representative, then you may begin to think that eventually Microsoft will be a small software company.
  • by Hard_Code ( 49548 ) on Friday August 09, 2002 @12:59PM (#4040228)
    That's less funny if you replace "back child support" for "estimated movie/music piracy".
  • Agentina (Score:3, Interesting)

    by John Harrison ( 223649 ) <johnharrison@gmail. c o m> on Friday August 09, 2002 @03:16PM (#4041333) Homepage Journal
    There was a show about it on PBS last night. People have resorted to joining bartering groups.

    Brazil has had its own strangeness. I was living there when they switched from the Cruzeiro Real to the Real. They didn't correctly anticipate the number of coins that would have to be minted. For six months you couldn't get the 5 cents change from your 45 cent bus fare. You got a "5 cent coupon" instead. So basically the bus fare was 50 cents with your tenth ride free!

    ps For being a privacy nut you just told us all where you live. Smith's and Albertson's aren't exactly nationwide chains. :)

  • Census Data (Score:2, Interesting)

    by jteitel ( 104120 ) <jeff@tei[ ].net ['tel' in gap]> on Friday August 09, 2002 @03:26PM (#4041446) Homepage
    Isn't census data supposed to be confidential?
  • Re:Census Data (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 10, 2002 @11:14AM (#4045527)
    Only in countries that aren't Police States.

    All data collected, exists. If it exists it can be accessed for "justified" reasons. The question is "justified". Well, here's one good example.

    Cop says AC informant says you ...

    Justification accepted, in full. Cop can do you pretty much do you any way they want to.

    And, worse, that was the "old world". Now, for a great many things, they don't even need to put on the charade.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 10, 2002 @10:50PM (#4048772)
    Same here. But when I started shopping online (I HATE going to the grocery store), they were the option game in town. And since anyone you shop with online is going to track your information, it really makes worrying about the card pointless (even though you still have to signup for a virtual card with a card identification number).

    Now I use ALbertsons though. Safeway would be good if they had some fucking PICTURES and DESCRIPTIONS of the fucking food they are selling. How am I supposed to know what "blue forest cheese grt 8oz" is? And when I emailed them to ask about putting up pictures of their stock, they said some day they would. Then six months later they told me "it would cause people's connections to be too slow and crash our servers"...

    Whatever... so now I buy online from ALbertsons. And the good thing about albertsons is that they are a Mormon company and it goes against their practice to do the sort of data tracking crap safeway does with their cards. I'm not a mormon (or religious at all).
  • by Komodo ( 7029 ) on Sunday August 11, 2002 @05:53PM (#4051687) Homepage
    Innocent prank, or identity theft?
    I wonder how well the law draws the line. Doing this with (say) a driver's license should be a crime. But in the current climate, even falsifying your Mickey Mouse Club card number might get you shot.

"Well, it don't make the sun shine, but at least it don't deepen the shit." -- Straiter Empy, in _Riddley_Walker_ by Russell Hoban