Report: Google And Mastercard Strike Secret Deal To Track Customers’ In-Store Purchases

Kyle Perisic | Contributor

Google and Mastercard have reportedly struck a secret deal to monitor users’ in-store purchases, to collect data on what Google ads have resulted in purchases.

After years of negotiations, Google paid Mastercard millions of dollars for its customer data, Bloomberg reported Thursday, citing two anonymous sources. The two could be sharing ad revenue, Bloomberg added but also reported a Google spokeswoman denied that claim.

“People don’t expect what they buy physically in a store to be linked to what they are buying online,” said advocacy group Electronic Privacy Information Center’s Christine Bannan. “There’s just far too much burden that companies place on consumers and not enough responsibility being taken by companies to inform users what they’re doing and what rights they have.”

Knowing which ads have resulted in purchases would make targeted ads — specialized ads tailored to specific individuals — much more valuable. Thus far, it has been almost impossible to tell if an online ad has resulted in a purchase.

“Before we launched this beta product last year, we built a new, double-blind encryption technology that prevents both Google and our partners from viewing our respective users’ personally identifiable information,” Google said in a statement, according to Bloomberg. “We do not have access to any personal information from our partners’ credit and debit cards, nor do we share any personal information with our partners.”

Facebook is also working with banks and has patents in place that suggest the company wants to track its users in the real world, monitoring what they buy in stores. (RELATED: Orrin Hatch Asks FTC To Investigate Google For Antitrust Violations)

The social media giant began meeting with large banks, including Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, U.S. Bancorp and Wells Fargo, The Wall Street Journal reported on Aug. 6.

Facebook reportedly asked for banks’ customers’ data, including card transactions and account balances to be used in a host of financial features on its platform, including checking account balances and fraud alerts.

A patent Facebook filed uses cameras at checkout counters to record and track shoppers’ faces, matching them to their social media accounts and sending them a message to confirm purchases.

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