It doesn't take too many trips to the Internet or visits to social-media pages like Facebook or Twitter to realize that Big Brother indeed continues to watch over us ever closer. Technology related to tracking patterns in consumer-spending habits continues to improve, allowing advertisers or marketers to better target the public with specific, albeit mostly unsolicited, product offers. Now, MasterCard International appears to be looking to jump further into that game by looking for a better way to analyze purchasing data to reflect automobile choices and driving habits.

Specifically, the credit-card giant has applied for a patent related to technology that can scan purchasing habits to determine a consumer's car type and driving habits, according to Free Patents Online. Anything from car-buying information to service-station expenses to gasoline purchases could theoretically be analyzed. The idea is to provide valuable consumer data for firms in sectors such as the insurance or advertising industries. MasterCard says such a technology would ultimately be a lot cheaper than conducting telephone or online surveys.

So, beware that a future where an auto repair or filling up at the pump may trigger some spam or other unsolicited offers could be in the offing. The alternative, of course, is to pay cash.

Share This Photo X