Clark Howard

12.20.19 Retailers using secret consumer scores; Clark Stinks

Retailers now use third party data services to determine whether you get to return an item, regardless of their return policy. “Machine learning” big data companies are crunching data on us all different ways and issuing secret scores, very different from credit scores. The NYT reports on these outfits including Retail Equation, and one called Sift which analyzes 16,000 different factors on an individual to come up with a Sift score for sale. Clark has requested his data from one such company called Zeta Global. Many of these have operated in the shadows, only marketing to companies while stonewalling curious consumers. But California’s new privacy law takes effect in January, giving consumers the right to access such data and have it removed. Some of the services are already complying nationwide. They’re all terrified of states passing such statutes with differing requirements. We should have the right to control and delete dossiers on us. What happens when these companies get hit with data breaches and all our info is further exposed? Clark will share his requested data files, let you know what you need to access and what rights you have with your own data. Creepy that all these organizations are developing secret scores on us using their own methodologies. Where is privacy? It’s not written into our Constitution because early America was so rural, connection was the goal. Privacy is a modern concept that now must be adopted as a national effort comparable to European privacy law which is working well.

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