DATA-MINING YOUR PRIVACY
2016 erupted with a flood of offers for dog food and special doggy deals! Has your private information been data-mined or sold to APHIS, HSUS, zoning, or Animal Control?
May 2016 update | TheDogPress.com
Barbara J. Andrews, Editor-In-Chief
AKC is taking in fewer dollars (ii AKC 2013 revenue, pension, and retirement summary) from registrations, pedigree sales, dog show fees, AKC credit cards, etc. Are they offsetting the shortfall by selling your personal information to companies that market pet supplies or consumer information, a practice known as data mining?
Data-mining is big business on steroids. Last year Judge Napolitano told Fox News that data brokers can legally harvest your email recipients and sell the list so advertisements can be emailed to them. It is so bad that Napolitano said Europe has passed legislation allowing users to “remove your footprint from the internet.”
If you are shocked by the “very idea” then you will be electrified to learn how business is done today!
The NBC special on Ed Snowden and the NSA woke up a lot of dog fanciers. We are pretty much wrapped up in our own little world but suddenly, we saw beyond the next win ribbon or litter.
Data mining began here in America when we were induced to give up private information in exchange for the grocery store “discount” received by presenting a keycard or member number at checkout. You might be outraged to discover you sold your personal worth for less than a penny on the dollar but it’s too late now. What you buy, where you buy it, and your preference in wine, restaurants, shoes, edibles and entertainment is a valuable commodity. If it seems like a good tradeoff consider this…
If APHIS decides to inspect breeders in your area, they will have a list showing where you live and how many “dogs, cats and/or other small (mammals)” you own. Fines and/or fees can run in the thousands of dollars. How did they find you? Odds are high that you have granted AKC, your veterinarian, dog food or pet supplies provider the right to sell your transactions and dog records to anyone willing to buy that valuable information.
TheDogPlace.org observed in 2005 (before the APHIS rule) that AKC could subcontract breeder inspections. HSUS may know exactly how many puppy sales or litters you’ve had this year and that is a marketable commodity. Like dog magazines buying lists from dog show superintendents, with far greater income and motivation, the Humane Society Of The U.S. or the USDA/APHIS can buy any list.
AKC’s database will even reveal whether or not the “puppy for sale” was born on your premises. Look out “puppy back” co-owners! If you have five intact females included in that broad list of mammals you own (horse, cat, goat, the kid's pet rabbit), you are in violation of the APHIS rule and subject to inspection. Will AKC or UKC or other dog-related providers sell your personal information?
If you advertise a rabbit, hamster, etc., even in the local newspaper, in 2016 you are even more likely to become part of a “universal” database. If you ship a puppy, kitten, ferret, etc. your information is automatically entered into the USDA database. APHIS can then access the database to compile an area-generated list of breeder-households to be inspected.
When your vet fills out a health certificate for the puppy you're shipping, or frozen or fresh chilled semen form, etc., you go in the federal database.
Is your financial transaction information shared with IRS? As a subscriber to TheDogPress, you know all about Internal Revenue Service Director Lois Lerner’s connection to HSUS.
Data-mining has become easier as internet technology advances. Search engines know you by your IP address and your preferences are compiled in a limitless database. Remember when internet became an incredible new look-up tool? Surely you recall that first flush of vanity when Google “recognized” you and understood just what kind of information you were seeking? Amazon became tremendously successful at remembering exactly what items you viewed or last purchased and returning ads for similar items the next time you log in. You smile, grateful that it remembered your list…
Well, here’s a sobering thought.
According to a Wall Street Journal study, the top Internet sites install millions of data-laden cookies and personal tracking beacons onto personal computers. Search for information on “depression” for your great aunt and search engines may categorize you with emotional problems. Why? So it can sell that data to health-sites that will then target you with ads for antidepressants.
Airlines were among the first to collect, use, and sell your private information. In 1998 The Washington Post reported “The airline frequent-flier plan, an early example of this, has been around in electronic form for more than a decade. But data collection and matching are now done on a scale that lets companies – from groceries to hotels to all manner of firms on the World Wide Web – try to anticipate what some customers want before they ask for it.”
Look up pet food ingredients and you will be chased around the world wide web by a barrage of ads offering premium “natural” ingredients.
If you think data-mining is not that big a deal, digest this fact: the ultra-conservative National Rifle Assoc. filed an amicus brief in support of the very liberal American Civil Liberties Union’s objection to the National Security Agency’s routine collection of tens of millions of telephone records. That was before Edward Snowden blew the lid off NSA’s collection of private data in an incontrovertible violation of the ii Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
While government agencies usually require a search warrant, that Constitutional protection is evaporating even as you read this. Explore the links below for more on data mining, your rights, and what NOT do if you are ever presented with a Search Warrant to search your home or premises.