Stumping a thief, or invading my privacy?

A few months ago I wrote about Washington Mutual’s banking site asking me to give answers to questions I couldn’t give answers to, like my “oldest sibling’s birthday” when I’m an only child, or my “youngest child’s middle name” when I have no children.

It appears that’s not enough of an annoyance, so companies may start asking you questions about items they’ve learned about you from various databases. MSNBC reports,

Instead of using information you give to your credit-card company—your pet’s name or favorite movie—the new type of verification uses personal information gleaned from databases without your knowledge. London-based data broker Experian, for instance, culls information from hundreds of sources—including court records and electoral registries—to supply its 200-plus British clients with so-called challenge questions. If a customer arouses suspicion, the credit-card company sends the name to Experian and gets back, seconds later, a list of questions that can be put to the customer.

So on top of annoying you by asking you questions about things you may not even remember, they’re annoying you using information that may not be otherwise public.

Privacy issues, anyone?

The amount of information about us that’s floating around is truly a scary thought. American Express knows my spending habits better than I do. They know when I’ve taken a vacation, which gas stations I stopped into, which restaurants I enjoy.

I long for the day, in the not very distant past, where I payed cash for everything because I didn’t own credit cards. Now I put everything on a card, and I can be tracked, analyzed and profiled.

1984 continues to arrive, incrementally.

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