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09/11/2003

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Draigon

That's pretty interesting. I'm a very paranoid person, but I probably would have been more elaborate. Mostly just because I'm still getting accustom to the idea that alot of people know what a MMOG is. I remember when EverQuest was released, I would overhear a conversation with something along the lines of "EverQuest? What's that?" or I would see an ad in a popular magazine and it would stun me. Just the fact that there are people in my area that know what a MMOG is. I still can't grasp that yet. So when anybody makes a reference I almost feel encouraged to make it my duty to educate them and encourage them to look into it.

Exick

What's more disturbing to me is that he was able to actually see what you purchased. I mean, do retailers actually report itemized lists of purchases to credit card companies or just the amounts? I'm pretty sure I don't like that idea.

I could see if maybe he saw you made a purchase at EBGames or something and then decided to press you about which games you purchased, but to be able to actually see that you bought SWG seems like a bit more information than a credit card company should be allowed to have.

Exick

Hmmm, nevermind. I see now that he saw the monthly fee for the SWG subscription, not the actual purchase of the game. My mistake.

5000!

Ummmm, I don't mean this in a mean way, but it sounds to me like you're overreacting. You were talking to somebody whose JOB it is to look at your transaction history. It's not like the guy at Burger King was asking you about it. Also, It's a bit of an overstatement to say that he could study your recent financial past. In reality, all he could see was a string of credit card transactions. He didn't know your bank balance. He didn't know where your plane tickets went to. In fact, he probably didn't even know that you bought plane tickets, just that United charged you for something.

He was making an attempt to be a human, rather than a faceless customer service flunky and I think that's something that shouldn't be taken for granted. I think what's unsettling you isn't that he could see your finances, it's that somebody you never met was having a personal conversation with you rather than reading their script. An all-to-rare occurence these days.

Anyway, how is this any different than a friend seeing your statement laying out on the table and asking you?

Mystery Shopper

That is a bit unsettling, but I guess it is an inevitable part of our world. Strangely, I'm glad that I don't personally know the person thats reading my credit card statements...

kevin D. white

Our perceptions of what is private often lags far behind reality. It is this lag that makes fighting new invasions of privacy so difficult. In this case the operator should not have revealed that he was looking at Justin's personal financial information even though it's not a surprise that he was doing so.

tony

Reminds me of that little incident at an airport where a luggage checker, finding an anti-war placard inside of a passenger's suitcase, found it necessary to slip in a little note that said, "Don't appreciate your anti-American attitude!"

Yeah, and even if (if!) privacy loss is the price we must pay for security, we don't appreciate your being an invasive jackass, jackass. I'm talking to the luggage guy, of course, should he be catching up on his gaming literature.

Jesse

I kind of agree with 5000! It must suck to have a job like his, he saw a chance to strike a small chat with someone that shared similar interests.

Maybe it wasn't correct to do it when he was working, and had access to priviledged information about you.

san

It's not that people have access to your private information, it's how they use that information. I was in an Apple Store and the technicians looked up my support record, noticed I owned a Cube and asked me if I still owned it, and if I liked it. I wasn't the least bit offended; we engaged in a conversation about that unique computer. If the Department of Homeland Security reviewed my financial and Apple support record without a warrant or with a meritless warrant and called to ask me just what I'd been doing with my computer, I'd be outraged.

Abuse of authority is dangerous, but casual, courteous mention of a common interest based on information you both have access to is called socializing. If the above referenced note-in-the-luggage incident actually occurred, that's a gross abuse of an authority position. The line is drawn between being courteous and friendly rather than rude or threatening. If the guy had slipped a note in the bag in support of the antiwar movement, I suspect the bag's owner would have been, if not happy, at least not angry. Unfortunately, it boils down to moral relativism: if you can be nice about it, no problem; if you are going to use the information to admonish someone, hold your tongue.

However, it should be noted that the ethics of many professions would prohibit mention of personal information, whether or not the agent of that profession was friend or foe.

san

It's not that people have access to your private information, it's how they use that information. I was in an Apple Store and the technicians looked up my support record, noticed I owned a Cube and asked me if I still owned it, and if I liked it. I wasn't the least bit offended; we engaged in a conversation about that unique computer. If the Department of Homeland Security reviewed my financial and Apple support record without a warrant or with a meritless warrant and called to ask me just what I'd been doing with my computer, I'd be outraged.

Abuse of authority is dangerous, but casual, courteous mention of a common interest based on information you both have access to is called socializing. If the above referenced note-in-the-luggage incident actually occurred, that's a gross abuse of an authority position. The line is drawn between being courteous and friendly rather than rude or threatening. If the guy had slipped a note in the bag in support of the antiwar movement, I suspect the bag's owner would have been, if not happy, at least not angry. Unfortunately, it boils down to moral relativism: if you can be nice about it, no problem; if you are going to use the information to admonish someone, hold your tongue.

However, it should be noted that the ethics of many professions would prohibit mention of personal information, whether or not the agent of that profession was friend or foe.

Carl

Maybe some customer relations manager made this their new policy: chat with the customers about their purchases to appear more friendly. It would be a bad idea, as shown by the reactions here.

I don't see how you can ever consider any purchase on a credit card to be private

Snowmit

Crossing the Threshold.

"How was the food at Dimitrio's Pasta House? Is it worth a visit?"

"Did you have a good trip to Europe?"

"You know, you seem to be spending a lot of time at the bars. Maybe you should consider cutting down."

"Wow, you sure are paying for a lot of perscriptions. How is the Zoloft working out for you? Is it making you feel better?"

"I see that you've been ordering the back catalogue of Girls Gone Wild. How do you like them? Any good sex scenes?"

dojothemouse

Dunno if you read all your comments, but there's a book for you. Excellent novel.

It's called Idoru, by William Gibson. One of the main characters is a "researcher" that wades through bills, credit records, and all the electronic records that we leave behind as we go through modern life.

It's in the middle of the "Bridge" trilogy (Virtual Light - Idoru - All Tomorrow's Parties) but it stands on its own.

outsider

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