Take a look at Cory Doctrow's Little Brother[/url], his latest book about a terrorist attack in San Francisco. Talks a lot about identification and tracking through gait analysis, RFID surveillance, etc. Best of all, all of his books can be downloaded free from his web site, and he's a good writer. I particularly recommend Eastern Standard Tribe and Down & Out in the Magic Kingdom.
You might learn about my shopping habits by looking at Albertson’s data warehouse, you’d learn what I typically buy and how much I pay, but I’m not sure how valuable that is at the individual level. At the aggregate level I can see value by knowing when seasonal purchasing trends change and being able to place your orders in anticipation of that. It would be easy enough to determine my whereabouts, overall, as I’m a part-time student and will be on campus three days a week. Do you need data mining to determine that? Not particularly, sounds a lot of work when a week of surveillance and asking at the university will tell you that.
In Phoenix, I worked with some friends monkey-wrenching a grocer’s loyalty program: we had several people of both genders and multiple ages, some single and some married, some with kids, making purchases with the same phone number. If someone happened to get a discount coupon from it, random luck of the draw, good for them.
But don’t think because you don’t use a loyalty card that a grocer, or anyone else, can’t assemble DW info on you. There’s nothing preventing them from storing a hash of your credit card info (run it through a SHA algorithm and you’ll get a sufficiently unique value) that is computationally unreasonable to reverse, and you can easily identify an individual’s buying habits, even if you might not be able to directly tie an identity to that data. Thus they have an identifier and are technically not storing your credit card information, so they're not jeopardizing their PCI compliance.
If you don't want to participate in their data store, pay with cash and never use loyalty programs. Your purchases will still be aggregated, but they can't be tied to a single person. (until they tie facial and gait recognition into the system....) :w00t:
[font="Arial"]Knowledge is of two kinds. We know a subject ourselves or we know where we can find information upon it. --Samuel Johnson[/font]