The Washington Post has an article about the use of credit card data to label customers as abusers of returns policies. The article provides another refutation of the “the innocent have nothing to fear” argument for increased data surviellance:

As the holiday shopping season gets into full swing, a number of major retailers — including KB Toys and Sports Authority, according to store personnel — are rolling out electronic systems that weigh the number of returns and exchanges a person has made, the dollar value of the items, and the dates of the transactions to decide whether a consumer should be granted another. The systems are designed to catch shoplifters and those who “wardrobe,” wearing clothes and then returning them for a full refund.

But Salerno, 26, a receptionist at a Manhattan financial firm, said she falls under neither category. She returns things often because she buys things often. She said she feels she has done nothing wrong — the clothes were never worn and the tags were still attached — but that she was treated like a criminal.

(via Kevin Drum) [ADDED 8.1.2006]