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NIRERIN Posts: 14,276
3/16/13 8:59 A

the way i figure it, certain places already have my data [at least the basics like name and address] and are selling it, so i may as well get things i want out of it. in other words, what's a few more places?

as far as being able to link your health care with your shopper card, that's really far out there out of the question for the near future. like hover cars and jetpacks out there. think of how many people there are in this country, think of how often they eat, think of how many different grocery stores and even just insurance companies there are. that's way too much data. figure how long does it take the irs to figure out that a person hasn't filed their taxes, to find them and hold them accountable? and that's one transaction a year. and coordinating your groceries with your household would be how many? 26 if you go to one store once ever other week. 52 if you go to the store once a week. 104 if you go twice a week or to two different stores once a wee. if you're like me you're looking more like 208 plus [i shop around and run to the store four times a week or so].
and you'd also need create a secure network where all of those places could store and share data. and you would have to find a way to verify that those using cash were properly linked to their own accounts. and you would have to give small producers incentives to implement a tracking program outside of their heads [accepting wic and ebt is easy because it potentially means more money], which would be disadvantageous to all those growers who know their customers by sight and preferences. plus you would have to account for home growers and since growing is seasonal and changing, that's even more data and tangle. because just because i ate collards from my garden last week doesn't mean i had them in there last year, last month or will next year or next month. for an idea of how feasible this is, take a look at your local property appraiser's office to get an idea of how well equipped they are to handle that sort of volume of data. how many of us don't know someone who has modified their property without pulling permits? how many of those property appraisers know this? plus you would have to get restaurants involved because people spend a good portion of their food budgets there. and it goes on.

having data and being functionally able to use data aren't the same thing.

Edited by: NIRERIN at: 3/16/2013 (09:02)
RIET69 SparkPoints: (47,087)
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Posts: 3,116
3/16/13 8:59 A

It used to bother me a great deal, but now, I guess I am getting used to "Big Brother" knowing everything about me. Sad, really.

200POUNDQUEST SparkPoints: (2,468)
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Posts: 205
3/16/13 2:48 A

Some insurance companies already do charge obese people higher premiums and I was actually denied coverage for "pre-existing condition" due to my weight.

I don't really care about the food cards. I don't see any real reason for insurance companies to even mess with it, after all, they can already adjust your premium based on your weight, health conditions, etc.

I could see Insurance companies possibly integrating the data from food cards into the "rewards" programs some of them have for healthy behavior.

The cards are completely optional, though the consumer is incentivised to use them through "discounts," and not offered everywhere that sells food, so I find the idea that they are part of some vast conspiracy to force us to eat healthy highly dubious.

I think a more likely tact would be "sin tax" on junk foods, similar to cigarettes and alcohol, but even that is probably not that likely any time soon. An easier sell might be not granting the lower sales tax rate most states have for food to junk foods, but that requires defining what is junk food, etc

BBYGIRLBELLA SparkPoints: (10,113)
Fitness Minutes: (1,100)
Posts: 68
3/15/13 7:07 P

I see the concern and if people are concerned then make up an identity if it permits you. Besides the fact that (pardon me) I don't give a damn who knows what I buy or do and will tell anyone what I think about anything they have to say about me it doesn't really bother me. If people (government) have a problem then they can tell me and I'll tell them what problems I have with them. And if they won't fix their problems I'm not going to fix "mine".

ZENANDNOW SparkPoints: (68,476)
Fitness Minutes: (2,138)
Posts: 4,632
3/15/13 6:50 P

I agree with Anarie. Anyone can thwart the food trackers by signing up for loyalty cards under a false name and address.

I don't mind food in general being tracked for statistical purposes. But being able to track each shopper individually by name and with access to addresses, phone numbers, and other more personal information, is not a good idea at all.

I do everything in my power (legally) to protect my personal data from these people.

ANARIE Posts: 13,192
3/15/13 6:36 P

Unless you're using the card as a check-cashing card, you do not ever have to give the store your real name or information.(And you shouldn't be using it as a check card; who uses checks anymore anyway?) I signed up for the Safeway card under the name Englebert Hassbinder, male, born Jan 1, 1900 and living at 123 Bluebird Lane in Nunnayerbiznes, Alabama. Let DataPoint Corp figure out why a 113-year-old man is buying store-brand tampons.

Check out the laws in your state. In most places, if you know about the card specials and ask for them, they have to give them to you whether you have the card or not. Otherwise they're operating as a membership club, which subjects them to a different tax structure. Or just make up fictional people for the cards; that's kind of fun.

And let me point out that under healthcare reform, the government is NOT paying for your healthcare, any more than the government is paying for your auto liability insurance. They're just requiring you to have insurance and hopefully making it easier to find it if your employer doesn't provide it. (Getting insurance at any price is next to impossible for the self-employed, but that's a whole 'nother topic.) It's the corporations you have to worry about misusing the info-- the corporation you work for, the corporation that buys and sells your data, the insurance corporations, etc-- not the government.

Really, this is just one more reason why you shouldn't give your data to people who have no business handling it. Be smart. Be Englebert Hassbinder. They can't do anything about it.

SHERYLDS Posts: 17,461
3/15/13 3:09 P

More local health departments -- along with state and federal investigators -- are relying on the detailed information about what went in consumers’ shopping carts to track down outbreaks of foodborne illness. Take the outbreak of E. coli that sickened 33 people in five states last . That’s when local health department officials called, seeking her shopper card numbers. They were actually able to track down where it came from. Data from Beth Duerr and others pointed to contaminated greens sold by Wegmans, a small Northeast grocery chain, but produced by State Garden of Chelsea, Mass. Identifying exactly which products were purchased by victims of food poisoning has become a standard tool for public health investigators, said officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

So in the world of databases and data mining ... If insurance companies wanted to adjust premiums to lifestyle (in the way that smokers vs non-smoker are)...the info that is out there would make it very feasible. As it is ... insurance companies would like to charge higher premiums for obese clients.

LOUNMOUN Posts: 1,334
3/15/13 2:59 P

How would the government control what I eat from that information? It doesn't make sense.
I don't have a shopper card or a store membership. First they would have to figure out how to make everyone use one.
What could they do with their info now? Set up some kind of health standard for food sold in our stores? And they don't already know how many gallons of ice cream are sold or that the store stocks unhealthy foods?
Are stores going to be required to have each customers medical history and refuse to sell certain foods to certain people? Will there be police raids to see what we have in our refrigerators?

If there comes a day when we are all issued food then the government could control and track what we eat and I would feel concerned.

Not worried at all at the idea of food registry.

NAUSIKAA Posts: 4,848
3/15/13 2:38 P

I live in a country far too disorganized to ever do this BUT I will say I do use those cards at various supermarkets, and I buy 75-90% of my food at the farmers' market where there are no cards. So anyone who were to collect such data on me would have the most bizarrely wrong idea about what I eat, it could work out very badly for me. For example if it were connected to how much I have to pay for health insurance. They would say "she never eats any fruits or vegetables." I eat mostly fruits and vegetables, I just don't buy them at supermarkets where they are terrible quality compared to the awesome fresh local stuff at the farmers' markets.

So unless they address that, the whole thing is REALLY screwed up. I hope it doesn't happen. I'm sure there are many like me who use co-ops, grow their own, farmers' markets, etc and would look totally unhealthy when in fact their diet is optimal.

OBIESMOM2 SparkPoints: (248,775)
Fitness Minutes: (124,172)
Posts: 14,904
3/15/13 12:27 P

@Firecom - yep. Big brother is always watching and trying to squirm in

notice on your W2 this year that employers now have to specify the value of the benefits they provide you? Some of the speculation is that it's a precursor to taxing the individual.

FIRECOM SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (11,796)
Posts: 5,855
3/15/13 12:23 P

I use them because it costs more at the checkout without doing so. I also know that it is good for the store because it tells them what is and is not moving out the door. In the case of our local store, Fry's, they use it to direct personalized specials to me via email. How the feds figure in this equation, I have no idea, but knowing the feds, they are in the mix somewhere and I don't like that.

OBIESMOM2 SparkPoints: (248,775)
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Posts: 14,904
3/15/13 12:17 P

I use them. And the stores can easily track what's selling without them, though they couldn't track it to a specific person/household.

I'm probably really messing up the data base at Ingles. I use one of the key tags that I found in the parking lot years ago (usually you get a card and a couple of key tags; somebody had just dropped the unused key tag in their parking space)

and if you don't want the store to know your details, don't register the card. You can still use it (but you won't get email notifications or coupons)

3/15/13 12:02 P

Have the card, or pay more for everything. I use them.

I_HEART_MY_FAM Posts: 1,809
3/15/13 10:34 A

Okay, we are on same page. I get them all, I love discounts.

SHERYLDS Posts: 17,461
3/15/13 10:27 A

today...most supermarkets and discount chains are issuing shopper cards that give you price discounts on buying stuff in their stores. Like a clipless coupon.

I_HEART_MY_FAM Posts: 1,809
3/15/13 10:23 A

Are you talking about those shopper cards that you get and when you shop their store you get special discounts or store bonus points? If so, I do not mind them because I do save. I am willing to save all that I can. I go in give them my phone number and get discount.

I_HEART_MY_FAM Posts: 1,809
3/15/13 10:18 A

Well no problem for me if they can see what I buy. I buy healthy stuff and buy more of it when on sale. So maybe they will have more of what I love to purchase on sale more often, that would make us all winners. The store makes more money, healthcare has their info,and I eat nice and healthy with a great savings.... Oh how I wish it would go that way, I can dream.

SHERYLDS Posts: 17,461
3/15/13 9:39 A

I've become very cynical about how info is used.
On the one hand, it does give the FDA the ability to track contaminated/tainted foods and prevent the problem from spreading. It gives marketing the ability to see what doesn't move on their shelves and hopefully make room for better options.

But info is used to control and fine tune our choices all the time.

Search engines are scanning our info to see which target markets we belong to, in order to sell us more stuff. Your purchasing history is used to make you into a repeat customer. They just keep pumping it with the stuff that makes you crave more and more.
The flip side of that scenario is holding you accountable for what you buy...
they didn't MAKE YOU BUY IT, so they don't hold any responsibility.

It's like dealing from a legalized drug pusher whose got a Research and Development team.

Edited by: SHERYLDS at: 3/15/2013 (09:40)
DIDS70 Posts: 5,368
3/15/13 9:21 A

Good Question. I can go either way. I would love the Gov't to be able to see what people buy on Link cards or with food stamps. I am not saying that ALL people do this but I certainly don't think that Swedish Fish, HoHo's and gallons of Pop should be bought on the link card or with food stamps. My sister works at Walmart and she sees very "unhealthy" things with the gov't dime being purchased. It's sad really.

I certainly don't want the gov't in my kitchen. I eat healthy. The only things that they may see are some cookies once or twice a quarter or some chips. I could get into health reform and really say how I feel, but this isn't the place for that.

SHERYLDS Posts: 17,461
3/15/13 8:26 A

Some folks are concerned about the potential for privacy violations . Shopper cards and membership stores that track your groceries are essentially creating a “food registry” of every meal you eat, said Katherine Albrecht, founder and director of CASPIAN, Consumers Against Supermarket Privacy Invasion and Numbering. She worries that the information one day could be used to control consumers’ health decisions, particularly once federal health care reforms take full effect. “Once the federal government is paying for your health, it becomes a public health issue what you put in your mouth,” she said, adding later: “Public health officials want to know exactly what’s on your shelf. Today it’s salmonella, but tomorrow it might be cholesterol, or ice cream.”
read more

Most people would agree that this invades our privacy but

Edited by: SHERYLDS at: 3/15/2013 (08:27)
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