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You Will Be Punked By Your Credit Card

The two largest credit-card networks, Visa Inc. and MasterCard Inc., want to use what they know about people's credit-card purchases for targeting them with online ads. This would line people's Internet lives with shopping, but also kill any sense of online consumer anonymity. The two companies would make a killing selling access to the insights they gather about people with every credit-card transaction.

You just bought a camera with your Visa card, then you go online and get ads for a telephoto lens. Until now there has been a fire wall between online and 3D life, with web ads reflecting one's online behavior not one's identity or activities "out there." In a weird "Minority Report" moment, Visa has a patent application that involves incorporating information from DNA databanks, among other personal details, into profiles that could be used to target people online.

MasterCard earlier this year proposed an idea to ad executives to link Internet users to information about actual purchase behaviors for ad targeting, according to a MasterCard document and executives at some of the world's largest ad companies who were involved in the talks. "You are what you buy," the MasterCard document says.



Read the whole story at The Wall Street Journal »

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