By Pete Shanks
Have you noticed that websites increasingly include advertisements targeted to someone who lives in your area and shares some of your interests? In the past three years, according to the Wall Street Journal [sub], “the personal-data business has exploded, with hundreds of companies tracking online behavior.” That in turn naturally raises privacy issues. And they are likely to get much, much worse.
Visa has filed a patent application for a process that would use, among other sources, DNA databases to identify potential customers. The application, published in April, is titled “Systems and Methods to Deliver Targeted Advertisements to Audience,” and covers generating
transaction profiles based on the transaction data, the account data, and/or other data, such as non-transactional data, wish lists, merchant provided information, address information, information from social network websites, information from credit bureaus, information from search engines, information about insurance claims, information from DNA databanks, and other examples.