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Loyalty Card Data Used to Find Salmonella Source

PERSONAL PRIVACY—U.S.

March 11, 2010

Customer loyalty card data helps supermarkets and other retailers promote products. Recently such data was used for a different gain. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently used the information to successfully pinpoint the source of a salmonella outbreak, reports the Associated Press. It is the first time the CDC has used loyalty card data to aid an investigation. The centers sought patient permission before mining the data. "It was a break in the investigation for sure," said CDC epidemiologist Casey Barton Behravesh. Some have expressed concern, however, that the breakthrough could lead to mandatory involvement in customer loyalty programs.  
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