Safety and Privacy

I got an email from my credit card company telling me the lettuce I purchased may be affected with E. coli and I can return it for a full refund.

I’m thankful not to have become sick. I am concerned that these sort of warnings seem to be increasing and what that says about our food supply system. Even more though, what does this say about privacy?

I appreciate the warning, but to give it the company has revealed something I had assumed but never confirmed: it is tracking my purchases.

Purchasing lettuce is relatively benign. Though I have a reputation as a carnivore, I don’t care if it becomes known I eat vegetables. What happens though if I decide to use my credit card to purchase a nuclear warhead? Will that purchase have them tipping off police? (Yes, I know possession of such a weapon is against Canadian law, I’m just making a point here.) Is there an expectation of privacy or did I surrender than in the fine print that came with the credit card? Does anyone read that stuff?

My concern isn’t that my purchases are being tracked. It is that the tracking has no benefit for me. The company had a chance to help me with its data collection. And it failed.

The last time I bought romaine lettuce, if I remember correctly, was more than three weeks ago. Do they really think I still have that lettuce kicking around the fridge? It was eaten long ago.

We live in an interconnected world, and privacy is increasingly a rare commodity. What saves me most of the time I figure is the sheer volume of information floating around cyberspace. No-one is looking specifically at my stuff.

Most of us have sacrificed privacy for convenience and connectivity. Is it too much to ask that a health and safety warning be timely? Don’t send me a warning for something I have obviously already consumed. Or did someone there think I can freeze lettuce.

Big Brother is watching me eat my lettuce. It would be nice if it keeps me safe and healthy while I do so.




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