Why are cashback sites like Rakuten bad? Practically speaking?

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Can someone explain why Rakuten is considered bad? I understand that using the app allows Rakuten to build a high-level profile to understand your shopping habits. While keeping information private is preferable, if it’s already out there, what practical harm can a company actually do with it?

…If I go out and buy beanie babies? What are they gonna do about it? Show me more ads for Beanie Babies? If I just saved 10% on my 50k purchase on Batty the Bat do I care?

Practically is it worse than information someone can gleam from your social media?

In: Technology

2 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments

Its not what harm they can do with that single piece of information, its about what kind of harm they can do with the rest of the information. Every agreement youve ever signed has had a clause in it about sharing that information with third parties.

I can see your Buying X @ Y Store @ Z time using a mastercard that ends in 1234. We know 90% of the people who shop at Y store are ethnicity A. Our client only wants to sell to their house to ethnicity B clients to keep the neighbor value high so make sure to exclude anyone who shops at Y store just to be safe.

No matter how much you anonymize the data, someone coming to the same location from the hours of 10pm-6am, can safely be assumed to live there. Now that you have an address, you can correlate it with other data.

Here is a real life example



A company that takes that data, aggregates it together, and sells it to religious community so they can explain why your going to hell unless you convert. Beyond even legal implications, criminals can also use these kinds tools to target their next victim. Someone who has just moved in is far less likely to have security setup and all their valuable stuff is already in easy to move boxes.

Even your own government will sell them that data at the right price


Anonymous 0 Comments

Did you read the t’s and c’s? In full??

Businesses always prefer apps because they can snoop on your data from other apps because no one reads the t’s and c’s.

Just make sure you think the loss of privacy is worth the saving for you