A new scandal with Google wants the company to secretly provide targeted advertisers with a "stock" of credit card transaction data.
After a four-year deal, Google and Mastercard have reached an agreement that Google would pay millions of dollars in exchange for providing data to cardholders, according to a Publication by Bloomberg. Google then packaged the data into a new tool called Store Sales Measurement.
This tool allows company customers to track how many of their online ads are actually being sold.
All well here, only none of the companies have informed their users about this setting. This for Mastercard, means that most of its two billion customers do not know they are being tracked.
"People don't expect that what they buy from a regular store can be connected to what they buy online," Christine Bannan, a consultant with the Electronic Privacy Information Center, told Bloomberg. "There is an excessive burden of data that companies receive from consumers and do not assume responsibility to inform users of what they are doing and what their rights are."
Last year, when Google first announced Store Sales Measurement, it claimed it had access to "about 70%" of US credit and debit cards. Mastercard-branded card purchases account for about 25% of all credit card transactions in the US, according to financial research firm Nilson Report.
Although Google did not name its affiliates, the 70% rate that it said serves indicates that Mastercard is not the only credit card company it works with.
Visa and American Express did not answer the questions of the journalists investigating the case.
A spokesman for Google said to TNW:
Before we launched this beta product last year, we created a new, dual encryption technology that prevents both Google and our partners from seeing their users' personal information. We do not have access to personal information from our partners' credit and debit cards. We do not share personal information with our partners. Google users can deactivate web activity and application controls at any time.
Although users have the ability to disable offline tracking, most do not know that there is such a possibility but also the an exception tool that says the company says nothing about tracking offline markets.