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Customer Data Tracking Should Be a Felony

Posted by libhom Sunday, September 16, 2007

Corporations constantly come up with ways to screw consumers over. One of their favorites is tracking customer information in databases. These databases serve no beneficial purpose for consumers, but do drive up corporate profits in a disreputable fashion. This has some obvious consequences such as loss of privacy and far more identity theft.

However, this is not the only problem. Corporations misuse personal data they should not even have to try to get people to buy more than they planned and to pay more than they should for products. Also, this kind of customer data is done to increase sales instead of using reputable tactics like improving products, improving services, and charging fair prices.

The prominent cases of identity theft are of no concern to the corporations that illegitimately track the personal data of you and me. If you lose your good credit and thousands of dollars, it does not effect them. They keep making bigger and bigger profits at the expense of identity theft victims.

Even worse, corporations routinely sell your and my personal customer data to other corporations, creating security holes and a loss of privacy involving companies that we have not chosen to do business with and may not even have heard of.

We need strong criminal law to ban this disreputable and dangerous practice.

  • E-commerce sites should not be allowed to keep accounts for customers. All purchases should be separate events, and all customer data destroyed after the products are delivered and the credit card transactions are complete. Brick and mortar establishments should have the same rules barring permanent customer records.
    Keeping records past this point should be a felony with a minimum 10 year prison sentence.

  • Selling any customer data should be an even more serious felony, with a minimum 20 year prison sentence.

  • Grocery stores should face similar prohibitions against the so-called “discount cards” which are used to hold manufacturer discounts hostage to a loss of customer privacy. The criminal penalties in this case should be at least 10 years.

  • Credit card companies should be required to delete all purchase records as soon as those purchases are paid for by the customer. Failure to do so should result in at least a 15 year prison sentence.

The criminal penalties for the executives responsible for this and the other employees are not enough. There need to be devastating civil penalties for the corporate entities too. All the corporations that break these laws should also lose their corporate charters and have their assets liquidated if they are based in the US. All foreign corporations engaging in this behavior should be barred permanently from doing business in the US.

We need to stop coddling corporations and crack down on their misconduct.

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