Visa and MasterCard hate you

Are you a ragdoll? Do you enjoy being tossed around like one, and flayed open for the world to inspect?  Well Visa and MasterCard treat you like one.

The Wall St Journal broke a story uncovering the latest endeavor by the world’s two largest credit card networks; they want to take your individual, transaction by transaction data, and link it with YOU and your internet activity, to serve you highly targeted ads.  So how could it work?

One approach from the Visa documents is based on tracking when a person enters personal information, such as their credit-card number or real name, at a website. That information then is used to look up a broader profile of that user that includes that person’s purchase history based on their credit-card transactions. A small tracking file, called a cookie, is then installed on the person’s computer to target ads at them based on their profile.

You shop, you start seeing custom ads.  Did you just buy lingerie for your wife?  Be prepared to see ads for seedy motels.  Forever.

Credit card networks are already compensated for this data with interchange fees; Visa and MasterCard are $73 billion and $41 billion dollar companies, respectively.  This transaction data may have occurred on their network, but it should belong to you; after all, you just paid them a 2% vig to push an electron.  To then sell this data to advertisers, regulators should begin pushing back, immediately.