The Consumer Data team is asking for tip-offs from the community on data misuse or exploitation by businesses you may have noticed recently. It’s thanks to community tip offs that we were able to investigate practices like Our Medical’s reward program and facial recognition technology in public settings. Some of the areas of interest we’re looking into include:
A business that refused service or increased prices unless you agreed to give up your data
A subscription or service that was priced automatically, and wasn’t too clear about what went into the pricing
New tech you’ve noticed when retail or grocery shopping that felt a bit invasive or manipulative
Other negative experiences with businesses collecting or handling your data
Let me know your thoughts in this thread or you can DM me. Thanks for your continued help with these investigations!
After placing a recent order I pushed the ‘track my order’ button and it directed to install the Shop (Shopify) app for tracking. Shop is perhaps the most blatant marketing effort imaginable that makes no apologies for its intrusive or in one’s face nature, as well as ‘data profiling and marketing’. Needless to include I do not nor will succumb to Shop to track my orders, and will reconsider future orders from any company that uses it for ‘tracking’ with no other way to do so.
Not to be outdone by Shop my Android phone popped up a feature to allow/disallow apps to use my data for app inspired ad placement.
A few local Coles supermarkets appear to have followed the Woolworths example and put cameras on self-service checkouts along with a display of the current user. This is an incredibly (and a literal) in-your-face way of saying “we’re watching you”.
Reason given by supermarkets? Loss prevention - apparently thefts have gone up 20% in the last year and it couldn’t be because of the cost of living… or all the staff supermarkets laid off when they went to self-service.
Apparently all Coles staff are going to be wearing cameras in the near future. For personal safety, of course.
Thanks for your reply Phil. Shopify is an interesting one and I’ve definitely noticed it used across basically every online purchase I’ve made recently! And I haven’t seen that Android feature since switching to iOS, one to look into for me, “personalisation” (targeting) has become all too rife.
Thanks for your reply postulative, a number of people have also reached out to us about the self-service checkout cameras. Some Woolworths even scan your trolley to make sure you haven’t left anything behind! We’re definitely keeping an eye on how camera footage is being used and stored.
That’s great, except when you have already been to the pharmacist, butcher, newsagent, baker, locksmith, candlestick maker etc. How would such a scan distinguish between Woolworths ‘property’ and something you bought elsewhere - especially if you are being conscientious and forgoing a bag for your produce.
They block access to their app and website when using Apple’s Private Relay, treating it like a VPN. It doesn’t operate like a VPN, it doesn’t even allow you to appear from another country, I can’t even have my address appear out of the state. So there is no risk to geoblocking protocols and any associated proprietary losses. The only reason for blocking Apple’s Private Relay is user data collection.
I’m still dealing with Apple Tech’s on this one, but upon deleting the Binge App from my TV and iPhone, I stumbled across an out of the way setting which the Binge App is still showing. Every search for it on my devices comes up empty, but it’s clearly there and the toggle switch works also. Even checking the App Store, it shows like a deleted app with the cloud logo to re download. So everything looks like it’s gone, but in an out of the way place a part of it is still there. That place is the connected apps to the TV app, which is purely data collection.
What the updates on Australian rights to data deletion? I read the article from January this year, but it didn’t state when the laws were getting discussed. Because I’ve also had that tictoc company Bytedance on my system through CapCut. And with the information they collect I want it scrubbed immediately,
Not sure if it falls under “data misuse or exploitation”, but I get frustrated when I buy something online that will NOT be delivered to me but still requires me to provide my address. I’ve came across this many times - for services such as a massage booking, or a click and collect order. If I walked into the physical store and bought these same goods and services I would not be required to provide an address.
I think that giving an address is no big deal. Businesses want to know how to contact their customers. By mail. Same with phone number, by SMS, and Email address, for electronic delivery.
If you want to avoid some or all of giving details like that on online systems, then don’t use online systems.
That is today’s world. For better or for worse.
A minor one, Rafi. I took my 7 year old non-functioning HP printer back to Officeworks. They couldn’t fix in in-store, and ‘phoned a friend’ for a higher grade of advice. The phone was handed to me, and I was asked for my name, phone number and email. I gave my name, and asked why they wanted the rest? For warranty purposes, I was told. I said the printer is seven years old, there’s no warranty involved, I just want to see if it can be made to work again. After further conversation between her and the Officeworks team member, I was told that I could send the printer to them, at my cost, and they MIGHT be able to fix it. I bought a new printer. No complaint with the Officeworks store, but the message is, if you have the opportunity to ask why the data is needed, do so.
The Woolies spy system doesn’t distinguish, as I discovered when I put my empty shopping bags in the trolley ready for loading up with Woolies purchases. Once I cottoned on to Big Brother’s habits I discovered hanging the bags on the hooky thing below the trolley handle doesn’t disturb the spy camera’s sensibilities. Mighty sick of seeing my own face looking back at me while I’m scanning though.
I’ll be sure to have a look into this, and thanks for raising this. There’s really no reason why Private Relay should be blocked. I’ll have a look at the apps too, I believe this applies generally to all apps on an iPhone.
The right to data deletion is still in proposal stage. The Federal Government has fortunately just supported this right along with many others. We’re hoping for legislation next year.
Thanks maggie1, we’ve heard this complaint from a number of people from a lot of businesses. I’ve often been asked to give over details just for a receipt. One we’re definitely looking at, it seems to be pervasive across the market.