Your information is valuable. And even if a company has a “Privacy Policy”, what is actually private? Many people are amazed to discover that a privacy policy just details how a company WILL share your data with its affiliates.

Some enjoy the mountains for the freedom they provide

Some enjoy the mountains for the freedom they provide

Skiers and riders have discretionary income and discretionary leisure time. Those two assets are extremely valuable to marketers. However, many people I have spoken with regard to tracking and data collection seem to have little knowledge about the subject. Many people think, “Who would want to know about me?”, and “I don’t care if they know about me or not. I don’t have anything to hide.”

The fact is there are data mining companies, and departments of corporations who piece together data from a number of different sources so that they can better market to you. They also supply data to those who use it to account for your likes, dislikes, activities, and habits.

The direct marketing may be welcomed by some, but also be a nuisance to many. And it can be costly to some. It is a common practice for corporations who generate this data to “share” it with their affiliates as outlined in their privacy policies. And these affiliates can then share it or sell it to their affiliates or other companies who can aggregate the data. And the sharing continues.

Raw skier usage data to marketing knowledge

Raw skier usage data to marketing knowledge

In fact, there is little that is private about your “private” data. If one of these affiliates happens to be my medical or life insurance company, I would prefer not to have them make judgments about my skiing of black and double black diamond runs all day long. An actuary’s calculations would show that my risk for injury increases, thereby my medical or life insurance could increase. I am sure the insurance company would like to know this information to assist in setting my premiums. This is an unintended, but very real use of data mining on the mountain.
It is only a matter of time until we see RFID or GPS (phone apps) speed zones created on the mountain, there may be other unintended consequences with offering data through affiliate partners. Which company or industry many gain benefit from knowing that I like to go faster than the average skier on the mountain?

I prefer to shield my data with a Ski Pass Defender. I can use my pass as a ski pass when boarding a base lift. I don’t need to share my whereabouts or personal pass information if I choose not to. A number of handheld devices are being created to read RFID from ID cards and passes. And with more than 700 ski areas worldwide using RFID, there will be many different versions of privacy policies, affiliate relationships, and a significant potential for data breach.
Easy Squeeze to Read technology. Allows the pass to read through clothing

Easy Squeeze to Read technology. Allows the pass to read through clothing

ACTUAL PRIVACY POLICY

Here is an actual section of a major resort’s “Privacy Policy” which states how data is shared with 3rd parties.  Did you read this when you bought your pass? This is considered an “Automatic Opt-In”, and it requires you to know that you need to opt-out.

Third-Party Relationships

In order to optimize your experience on our sites, THE RESORT maintains relationships with many corporate partners and service providers throughout the world. If you have any questions about whether certain information, content or services pertain to us, or are provided by one of our partners, please contact us at XYZ.com.

Whenever you provide registration information on certain Web pages or for certain services provided in conjunction with third party partners, we want to be clear that some data you provide is shared with partners. For instance, certain information is shared with ZZZ.com, our provider of online reservation service. You should make every effort to read the privacy policies provided by or in association with such third parties, and make an informed decision on your own whether or not to continue utilizing the services based upon the privacy policies posted on these Web pages, at your own discretion. However, we will make every effort to ensure that you have the ability to opt-out of the sharing of such data with partners.

Security

XYZ company operates secure data networks protected by industry standard firewall and password protection. XYZ corp has security measures in place to attempt to protect against the loss, misuse and alteration of your user data under our control. While we cannot guarantee that loss, misuse or alteration to data will not occur, we make every reasonable effort to prevent such unfortunate occurrences.

With regard to taking time by trying to protect your information by shielding RFID passes, Breckenridge spokeswoman Kristen Petitt says there is little point.

“We’ve been tracking people and collecting information about them anyway for years,” she said with a wry smile. “With EpicMix, we just finally let you see that information.”

My intention with this post is to let the reader know how important it is to understand you right to protect your information that is collected by companies. Information can help companies better serve you, although there is information that you do not need to share. It should be your choice to opt-in or opt-out.

Jonathan Lawson has been an expert in the field of Identity Theft Risk Management since 2005, and a ski professional since 1991.  Mr. Lawson has held dozens of education seminars for minors, adults, seniors, and corporations regarding identity theft and risk mitigation.

Filed under: SkiPassDefender updates

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