Whatever happened to privacy?

During the initial days of the internet, anonymity was all the rage. A favorite cartoon pictured two Basset Hounds typing away on their PCs. The caption read, “On the internet, no one knows you’re a dog.” How quaint those days seem. Today reputations get destroyed by “private” online chats.

Now the internet is helping retailers market to us. Our banks know our real spending patterns: where and when we buy our morning Joe; where we shop for clothes; what we do for recreation. They’re discovering the joys of data mining. When they get together with merchants, it makes a powerful combination.

There’s an “opt-in” program where consumers can choose to receive targeted text coupons on their cell phones. Here’s how it works: the bank knows you buy a cup of coffee at 8 or so every morning. So around 7:45 you get a text message offering you a free pastry at the Starbucks just across the street. The banks don’t tell Starbucks your purchase patterns; they just sell your name as a good prospect for a promotional ad, kind of like Groupon.

There’s a creep-out factor to all this. It used to be only celebrities had paparazzi record their every move. Now I have to worry that if I get impatient today at the DMV a video will be posted tonight on YouTube. And tomorrow I’ll get discount coupons for anger management classes.

Makes you long for the good-old-days of Netscape and Friendster.

Douglas R. Tengdin, CFA
Chief Investment Officer
Hit reply if you have any questions—I read them all!

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By |2014-09-11T11:38:47+00:00June 30th, 2011|Global Market Update|0 Comments

About the Author:

Mr. Tengdin is the Chief Investment Officer at Charter Trust Company and author of “The Global Market Update”. The audio version of each post can be heard on radio stations throughout New England every weekday. Mr. Tengdin graduated from Dartmouth College, Magna Cum Laude. He received his Master of Arts from Trinity Divinity School, Magna Cum Laude and received his Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation in 1992. Mr. Tengdin has been managing investment portfolios for over 30 years, working for Bank of Boston, State Street Global Advisors, Citibank – Tunisia, and Banknorth Group. Throughout his career, Mr. Tengdin has emphasized helping clients manage their financial risks in difficult environments where they can profit from investing in diverse assets in diverse settings. - Leave a comment if you have any questions—I read them all! - And Follow me on Twitter @GlobalMarketUpd

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