What Stays in Vegas

What Stays in Vegas

The World of Personal Data--lifeblood of Big Business--and the End of Privacy as We Know It

Book - 2014 | First edition.
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The greatest threat to privacy today is not the NSA, but good-old American companies. Internet giants, leading retailers, and other firms are voraciously gathering data with little oversight from anyone.

In Las Vegas, no company knows the value of data better than Caesars Entertainment. Many thousands of enthusiastic clients pour through the ever-open doors of their casinos. The secret to the company's success lies in their one unrivaled asset: they know their clients intimately by tracking the activities of the overwhelming majority of gamblers. They know exactly what games they like to play, what foods they enjoy for breakfast, when they prefer to visit, who their favorite hostess might be, and exactly how to keep them coming back for more.

Caesars' dogged data-gathering methods have been so successful that they have grown to become the world's largest casino operator, and have inspired companies of all kinds to ramp up their own data mining in the hopes of boosting their targeted marketing efforts. Some do this themselves. Some rely on data brokers. Others clearly enter a moral gray zone that should make American consumers deeply uncomfortable.

We live in an age when our personal information is harvested and aggregated whether we like it or not. And it is growing ever more difficult for those businesses that choose not to engage in more intrusive data gathering to compete with those that do. Tanner's timely warning resounds: Yes, there are many benefits to the free flow of all this data, but there is a dark, unregulated, and destructive netherworld as well.
Publisher: New York : PublicAffairs, [2014]
Edition: First edition.
Copyright Date: ?2014
ISBN: 9781610394185
Branch Call Number: 338.76179 TAN
Characteristics: xvii, 316 pages :,illustrations


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Sep 01, 2015

Warning: Yet another clown act from Harvard!!!
Sorry, dude, but the companies cited are all also private contractors to the US government, meaning they feed data to the intel establishment, and yes, NSA, CIA, DIA and the FBI are indeed far more dangerous, along with their subcontractors! Gratuitous book.

Aug 06, 2015

If you think the right to privacy is a joke, you're right. This book tells the story of how casinos learned as early as the 1980s how to track the betting, concert going and hotel staying habits of its customers, and to tailor individual loyalty packages to each (as well as winback programs for lapsed clients). From this experience, private companies figured out how to mine for unlisted phone numbers, rap sheets, credit records and so forth - in many cases, using casino databases to start their searches. If one thinks one can opt-out of data sharing, they are wrong. The author points to one example where a subscriber list (in the mere hundreds, of which he was one) to a scholarly magazine, was sold to the ACLU who solicited a membership, and when confronted admitted to the author they bought the list for just over ten cents a contact. Casinos provide much needed tax revenue, but this insidious side effect created by the monster of such databases is something no one should tolerate.

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