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|User Info||Target Finds Girl Pregnant Before Dad; entered at 2012-02-24 02:29:28|
And the sad thing is, this is nothing new. Data mining companies have been doing this for decades. I remember seeing a show on PBS (NOVA maybe?) back in the 80's about how advertising works. In the show, a female Judge had a similar experience as the Target teenage girl. Only the Judge, her husband and her doctor knew she was pregnant, yet she started getting pregnancy related advertising (even sample diapers) in the mail. Needless to say she was not a happy camper about this breach of her privacy, and started looking into it.|
Turns out that the "predictive analytics" data (see Publius' post above) mined from her grocery store rewards/loyalty card guessed that she was pregnant. She was then added to the company's "is pregnant" mailing list, and that list was sold to other advertisers looking for "is pregnant" customers.
They also stated on the show that "predictive analytics" revealed that people who like Ragu spaghetti sauce tend to be dog owners, and that people who like Prego spaghetti sauce tend to be cat owners. They weren't sure why, but that's what the data showed.