Saturday, April 10, 2010
Inadvertent tweeting (on being stalked by supermarkets)
I tweeted about this, and posted a photo on flickr, and a few people agreed that it was a somewhat freaky experience. I then more or less forgot about it, until yesterday, when I received another identical invitation.
I recognise that participation in most "rewards" or "awards" programs implies a degree of disclosure. However, I'm not entirely comfortable with my shopping being so actively tracked.
I'm also unaware of the extent of that tracking. For example, does Woolworths have an inventory of the actual items I purchased? If so, to what use will that information be put?
Occasionally I hear clients OK certain actions because they were "disclosed" in the terms and conditions. However, in many years of active observation of users interacting with paper and online versions of various "Ts and Cs" (as they're often called), I have yet to see someone read them. Most people blithely scan them and click the "Accept" button. To pretend that information buried in such documents has been "disclosed" is quite simply that - a pretence.
The Terms & Conditions, incidentally, contain over 4200 words - I've included a screen grab of it at the bottom of this post (if you're really fascinated by all this, you can read the full text).
I wondered what was in the Woolworths Ts and Cs. I couldn't actually find where I'd agreed to be tracked and polled. However, I did find the following statement:
"We will only use your personal information to operate and to provide you with the membership benefits of the Everyday Rewards Program (including our member newsletter), and the Qantas Frequent Flyer program (if applicable), and to bring you Other Benefits from the Woolworths Group."
My definition of a "benefit", even an "Other Benefit", is apparently somewhat at odds with the Woolworths definition.