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Friday, March 02, 2007


Whatever personal data you gave May Department Stores to get your credit card—which was probably far too much—is being increased significantly by the addition of more private information provided by Acxiom’s Infobase database. Pre-Acxiom, May Co. had what you purchased and how much you spent. Post-Acxiom, the new amount of information is staggering, and the junk mailers are charging inflated prices for your name and the new data. To start with, your income, age, children’s age, and 90 lifestyle interests from your politics to whether or not you gamble, your investment habits, reading interests, ethnicity and religious beliefs, and where you travel. This all came from Acxiom’s—it has become nearly impossible to describe the size of the personal information these data brokers have on just about every American household, but, for the sake of this post, let’s use inconceivable—database, that was reported to have an error rate of 67% by Privacy Activism in 2005, a privacy advocacy group. But you don’t have a May Co. credit card? Worry not; Acxiom is probably already selling this program to every department store in the country.

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