Was Your Daughter Killed in a Car Crash? Database Marketers Want to Know.


Do you ever wonder just how much personal information all those database marketing folks know about you? The short answer is: A lot. One company alone processes 50 trillion transactions a year and boasts that it has collected 1,500 “data points” each on 500 million active consumers worldwide (including a majority of adults in the United States). Try reading this and this if you want to get up to speed. But for pure creepiness, it’s hard to beat this:

A suburban Chicago couple who lost their teenage daughter in a car crash last year feels as if they were victimized again after receiving a letter from OfficeMax Thursday. The envelope was addressed to Mike Seay, but the second line read “Daughter Killed in Car Crash.”

Seay’s 17-year-old daughter, Ashley, was one of two teens killed in a crash last April when their SUV veered off the road and slammed into a tree in Antioch.

Yep. “Daughter killed in car crash” is an entry in somebody’s database record for Mike Seay. And why not? Grieving parents might be a soft target for certain kinds of goods and services, after all. You have to take advantage of those kinds of opportunities.

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate