In 2012, retail giant Target was outed in The New York Times for its development of algorithms that were able to identify a teen as pregnant before she was even able to tell her parents herself. To retailers, it seems "new parents are their holy grail," and being able to zero in on them early on allows a company to build incentives to hopefully lure those customers into patterns of regular shopping in their stores. Today, retailers are able to mine credit card data and other information to study individual behavior against historical buying data patterns. Target statistician Andrew Pole was able to run "test after test, analyzing the data, and before long some useful patterns emerged." Like a Pandora's box once much of this technology is created, there will be little hope of stopping or even regulating it. However, today, there are important efforts underway to look at technology and privacy both here in the US and in other parts of the world.
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction or distribution is prohibited without permission.