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Coles, Woolies Spying On Card User’s Trolley Contents: Report

Supermarket giants Coles and Woolworths – though apparently not yet Aldi – have been using data analysis techniques to spy on the trolley contents of selected customers and promote the services of other businesses, including NAB, Medibank, Telstra and Big W, according to a Privacy Commission report.

Following a review of Coles Flybuys and Woolworths Rewards loyalty programs, privacy commissioner Timothy Pilgrim has warned customers against signing up for too many loyalty cards, as this could help businesses form a picture of who they are and invade their privacy.

He found Coles collects its Flybuys members’ grocery purchase history and may use the data to work up promotions on behalf of partner organisations such as NAB, Medibank or Telstra; while Woolworths also collects such data and shares it with other businesses and other Woolworths group entities, including Big W and Dan Murphy’s.

Quoting Pilgrim: “I’d ask Australians to think about how many loyalty cards they have right now, and ask themselves if they know what can happen to the personal information they have handed over.”

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