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Fri Nov 8, 2019, 08:45 AM

Companies are amassing a huge amount of data about you.

I Got Access to My Secret Consumer Score. Now You Can Get Yours, Too.
<excerpt>
Every so often, journalists lament these systems’ inaccessibility. They’re “largely invisible to the public,” The New York Times wrote in 2012. “Most people have no inkling they even exist,” The Wall Street Journal said in 2018. Most recently, in April, The Journal’s Christopher Mims looked at a company called Sift, whose proprietary scoring system tracks 16,000 factors for companies like Airbnb and OkCupid. “Sift judges whether or not you can be trusted,” he wrote, “yet there’s no file with your name that it can produce upon request.”

As of this summer, though, Sift does have a file on you, which it can produce upon request. I got mine, and I found it shocking: More than 400 pages long, it contained all the messages I’d ever sent to hosts on Airbnb; years of Yelp delivery orders; a log of every time I’d opened the Coinbase app on my iPhone. Many entries included detailed information about the device I used to do these things, including my IP address at the time.

Sift knew, for example, that I’d used my iPhone to order chicken tikka masala, vegetable samosas and garlic naan on a Saturday night in April three years ago. It knew I used my Apple laptop to sign into Coinbase in January 2017 to change my password. Sift knew about a nightmare Thanksgiving I had in California’s wine country, as captured in my messages to the Airbnb host of a rental called “Cloud 9.”

“The heater in the room with the big couch has been running since we got here and we’re not sure how to turn it off,” I wrote on Wednesday afternoon.

“The air in the main house is really musty, like maybe there’s a mildew or mold issue,” I wrote on Thursday, then added apologetically, “Sorry to be bothering you on Thanksgiving!”

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/04/business/secret-consumer-score-access.html



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