Google access to Mastercard data links retail spending to online activity
After four years of negotiation, in 2017 Google began paying Mastercard millions of dollars for access to the latter's piles of transaction data as part of its "Stores Sales Measurement" service. Google, which claimed to have access to 70% of US credit and debit cards through partners, said that double-blind encryption prevents both partners from seeing the other's users' personally identifiable information. Mastercard said the company shares transaction trends with merchants and their service providers to help them assess the effectiveness of their ad campaigns. Through this program, Google is able to match its own user profiles to purchases made in physical stores. In 2017, EPIC filed a complaint with the US Federal Trade Commission. In August 2018, Facebook was reported to be in talks with banks about accessing information for consumer service products.
Writer: Mark Bergen and Jennifer Surane