The second you land on Capital One’s homepage, they know, or at least, could know, where you live, what you do, how much you make, and loads of other information about you. That’s because Capital One employs a company called [x+1] Inc, a firm that uses the tracking cookies countless websites install on your computer to analyze you, the Wall Street Journal explains in the third part of a series. The data, coupled with predictive modeling, creates a shockingly accurate portrait.
With one click, they knew that Paul Boulifard was a childless Nashville-based architect, who likes to travel and buy used cars. They knew Thomas Burney was a Colorado contractor and skier, with a college degree and good credit. And so on. Capitol One uses this information to decide which credit cards to pitch its visitors. They’re not always accurate, and they don’t identify subjects by name. But privacy experts say the data is often sufficient to identify a specific person.