TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Supermarket: Let Your Fingers do the Paying

Re: Supermarket: Let Your Fingers do the Paying

Lisa Hancock (
8 Feb 2005 13:53:41 -0800

Monty Solomon wrote:

> By Jo Best
> Story last modified Tue Feb 01 12:18:00 PST 2005

> Thriftway President Paul Kapioski said rather than shying away from
> the technology because of concerns about protecting their privacy,
> customer demand ensured that the biometric payment system made it past
> the pilot stage.

I must admit I split the fence on this issue. When my supermarket
began to accept ATM (now debit) cards as payment and even gives cash
back, I jumped at it. It makes things a lot easier, plus I get my
cash needs at the same time. (That's a plus for the supermarket in
that it has a bank credit instead of hard currency to handle).

The flip side is they now know me and what I like to buy and it's all
accumulated someplace. That part I don't like.

Say for example I decide to run for public office. The opposition
candidate slips a few bucks to a supermarket employee who pulls up my
buying habits. Do I buy 'adult' magazines or any other odd products?
(This has been frequently done in video stores.)

Say for example I have a medical problem and buy a lot of
over-the-counter remedies for it. A prospective employer or insurance
company would want to know that. Some supermarkets have pharmacies
attached and prescription records would of course offer juicy data.

The good news, I suppose, is that criminals have been caught using
this data. Some vandals put glue in a building's locks. The
authorities (according to the newspaper) checked local big box stores
for sales of that particular clue which they had from their cash
register tapes. They got the time whenever that particular glue was
sold. Then they checked their CCTV camera tapes and matched it and
found the vandals. So even paying cash doesn't protect you.

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