Sunday, October 27, 2013

The Voluntary Use of Personal Information

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In was in the early 1990s when Walgreens introduced its Advantage Card. The advantage card was not unlike most courtesy cards in use at the time. Where it differed was in its use of information collected by shoppers using it.

When you signed up, you agreed to allow Walgreens to utilize any information they got with third parties. Third parties are entities such as their product vendors, insurance companies, government--whomever wanted or needed it.

At the time, my wife and I began to debate the issues regarding privacy with regards to these new cards. Because of my strong belief in individual privacy, I made the decision, as a family, that we would no longer use this card, even though we could use the 4% savings that it offered. This was, in fact, her argument at the time, that we really could use this 4% savings.

I said no--double no.

Now, here we are--even myself, two decades later. None of us think twice about using these cards in conjunction with our credit cards, debit accounts, and other forms of identification. Do we get something in return for allowing these vendors to collect this information on our buying habits? Yes, we do--you know we do. In many cases we get points, which lead to monetary savings or free stuff. In the case of Pilot, we get a lower price on gasoline at the pump.

We know what we've gained, but do we know what we give up every time we use these cards?

So far as the MyRewards program, sponsored by the Pilot/Flying J group, which can be found on most any Interstate Highway, the following condition should be of interest:

By registering in the My Rewards Program, you hereby consent to PFJ and its affiliates’ collection and use of your information in connection with the My Rewards Program.
The key point is, once you have signed on, this company legally has the right to use your information in whatever way they deem fit. In my next blog report, we will talk about the ways in which your personal information is being used, without your knowledge.

If you have some thoughts to add to this or the next blog post, please send it along to blogger@tpromo.com.

Thank you
Al Colombo


Copyright©2013/Allan B. Colombo
www.alcolombo.us / al_colombo@hotmail.com
(Permission is given to republish blog posts providing
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