April, 14, 2012
Best Buy (and Victoria’s Secret and The Finish Line and many other stores!) Requires Govt. Issued Photo ID for ALL Returns.
The ID card data is swiped, stored and shared with a third party to track customer purchases and “to monitor the return behavior of shoppers; and warn or deny individuals flagged as questionable” Link to The Retail Equation, Inc.’s brochure
Best Buy’s return policy;
When you return or exchange an item in store, we require a valid photo ID. Some of the information from your ID may be stored in a secure database used to track returns and exchanges. Based on return/exchange patterns, some customers will be warned that subsequent purchases will not be eligible for returns or exchanges for 90 days. . .
. . . And how do we like it so far?
I’m Done With Best Buy Thanks to The Retail Equation
03-18-2012 02:37 PM
I am a premier silver member and have been for several years. In November of last year, I received a warning in store that I could not make any returns at Best Buy for 90 days. So for the next 90 days I did not make any purchases at Best Buy.
Yesterday, I spent over 700.00 on the new Ipad and an Invisible Shield. The Invisible Shield was not installed correctly and Best Buy decided to give me a refund. Keep in mind that this was only 29.99 of the amount I spent. This was the first purchase I have made since the 90 days had expired. I figured that I could return something that was actually not working correctly and be fine. However I received another warning today saying that I could not return anything for 90 days even though the product was not working correctly.
It sounds like The Retail Equation (TRE) does not take into consideration that some returns might be valid due to defective products. All TRE looks at is how many returns and that is not a fair way to evaluate whether someone is abusing a return policy. In the end, Best Buy has lost a premier silver member. Amazon and other online retailers will gladly accept my business going forward. Best Buy seriously needs to find another way to evaluate returns instead of TRE. Their method simply does not work.
Another unhappy Best Buy customer is suing them over their “swiping” policy.
How does this work? According to the Retail Equation, Inc.,
“The technology’s predictive modeling measured the likelihood of fraudulent or abusive behavior, as well as the likelihood of a consumer’s profitability”
From Wikipedia Predictive analytics encompasses a variety of statistical techniques from modeling, machine learning, data mining and game theory that analyze current and historical facts to make predictions about future events.
Data mining and predictive analytics is being used in just about every aspect of our lives. Predictive analytics applies a mathematical formula to masses of data to predict what a person is more or less likely to do in the future. Decisions are being made that affects our lives, sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse, every day.
For example, in our schools;
“They use their technology infrastructure to gather and analyze data on the factors that are most predictive of students who are in danger of school failure and/or dropping out. . . .As a result, the district has forged new partnerships with local law enforcement agencies”
If you think it stinks when you are misidentified as a naughty shopper, wait till you are misidentified as a “troubled individual”
Technology identifies troubled individuals
Sept 26, 2010
Imagine using the same technology to locate a lone bomber before he carries out his terrorist act and to identify a troubled veteran or first responder ground down by tragedies and violence.
A Swiss professor working with a Massachusetts Institute of Technology scientist who heads the Mind Machine Project there outlined how this program operates through computerized scanning of phone calls and electronic messages sent through e-mail and social networking mechanisms.
. . . Using character traits that have been identified through psychological profiles conducted on lone bombers following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Guidere said he and his colleagues developed programs that isolate signs pointing to a potential terrorist.
He said lone bombers, in particular, are not mentally deranged but harbor hatred and deep resentment toward government. Their emotional spikes, Guidere explained, can be identified by the computer program.
The practical side is that once the individual has been identified, the information can be passed along to authorities so surveillance can begin. . .
The burgeoning use of driver’s license scanning devices makes tracking and monitoring of the population much easier. When these data are held in separate databases there are plenty of security and privacy concerns but if the databases are linked or matched with other databases or shared-watch out! The negative implications explode at that point.
In case you are wondering just what information is in those bar codes on your driver’s license, here is a link for you to follow and find out.
And here is a great article from 2002 which is ancient history from a technology capability perspective, but it does a great job of allowing us to begin to consider the implications of widespread scanning of our government issued photo ID’s .
Welcome to the Database Lounge
Published: March 21, 2002
ABOUT 10,000 people a week go to The Rack, a bar in Boston favored by sports stars, including members of the New England Patriots. One by one, they hand over their driver’s licenses to a doorman, who swipes them through a sleek black machine. If a license is valid and its holder is over 21, a red light blinks and the patron is waved through.
But most of the customers are not aware that it also pulls up the name, address, birth date and other personal details from a data strip on the back of the license. Even height, eye color and sometimes Social Security number are registered.
”You swipe the license, and all of a sudden someone’s whole life as we know it pops up in front of you,” said Paul Barclay, the bar’s owner. ”It’s almost voyeuristic.”
Mr. Barclay bought the machine to keep out underage drinkers who use fake ID’s. But he soon found that he could build a database of personal information, providing an intimate perspective on his clientele that can be useful in marketing. ”It’s not just an ID check,” he said. ”It’s a tool.”
Swiping of driver’s licenses is being required for buying gas (in case you try to leave without paying), for entry to public schools (in case you might be child predator and if you are misidentified as a sex offender, which happens often enough, well, stinks for you!), for buying cold medicine, for entry to bars and casinos, San Francisco wants ID swipes for most public events, Harlem wants tenants to swipe to gain entry to their homes, and now, the TSA is swiping airline passengers’ ID’s .
TSA tests ID-scanning machines at Washington Dulles
April 14, 2012
The Transportation Security Administration began an experiment today at Washington’s Dulles International Airport to check identification and boarding passes by machine rather than just the visual check by officers.
While TSA officers have been checking identification with black-lights and magnifying glasses, the machines are geared to recognize all valid identification, ranging from driver’s license or passport to tribal identification or foreign passport.
“For efficiency, it is fantastic,” said Domenic Bianchini, TSA director of checkpoint technology. “We think it’s a valuable technology and we think over time we will see the real value added.”
The machine doesn’t store any personal information about the passenger, according to Greg Soule, a TSA spokesman.
Gee. When have we heard that before?
Although TSA has repeatedly stated that the scanners were “incapable of storing or transmitting” scanner images, despite specification data to the contrary provided by the respective manufacturers. In August 2010 EPIC (Electronic Privacy Information Center) discovered that the TSA had stored over 2,000 images, which the agency quickly claimed were of “volunteers” without specifying who compose this group or whether any were passengers who had “voluntarily” used the scanners in the testing phase.
The TSA is conducting the driver’s license “experiment” at Dulles, Houston and Puerto Rico but hopes to eventually “expand the program to every airport checkpoint” Read more
At some point in the not-so-distant-future, we will be required to show and/or swipe our driver’s license for just about everything we as humans need to live. As the process grows more and more automated and the data is digitized, we will find our movements, transactions and habits logged and our lives tracked and documented. Data mining and predictive analytics will be applied to nearly everything we do. The purpose of such credentialing processes is to allow some access and deny others, deemed unworthy by algorithm, access.
In 2010 I was repeatedly denied the ability to pay for my purchases by check due to a company called Certegy’s algorithm which decided that since I rarely write checks but had written several during the Christmas shopping season, this indicated that I was untrustworthy and that stores should not accept my checks. The year before, I was denied the privilege of renting a car because my credit score was too low. My credit score is low because I don’t buy on credit! I wasn’t asking to pay for the rental with credit either. I offered my debit card.
Chances are you have experienced similar incidents. Chances are that we have encountered other bumps in the road of life when no explanation for the problem was ever given but likely there was some algorithm behind it. This is our future. In health care, travel, purchases, renting or buying our homes, anything information about us that can be digitized can be factored in to determine whether or not we measure up. This is nothing short of destiny management.
With the governments unhealthy focus on security at all costs, we can expect things to get more and more complicated as the practice of tracking and tracing and databasing everything we do grows. Woe to those that are unfortunate enough to be perceived as a possible threat or have a data trail that makes them appear less than an ideal citizen in the eyes of Big Momma Gov. who is no longer willing to wait for us to actually do something wrong before she pounces. This government (and its partner corporations) wants to play psychic and limit our opportunities based on some supposed prescient power that indicates that we are more likely to do something naughty in the first place.
How do we exercise our free will when it is being effectively pre-empted?