Digital Snoops Have Nothing on Joe Sales Clerk

Sure, computers track our online shopping. But for sophisticated surveillance, you can't beat the human being in a brick-and-mortar store

Even as we plunge into recession, the holiday season brings online merchants a windfall of sorts: billions of new shopping clicks to analyze. We may be just browsing or comparison shopping online, but our Web wanderings paint a picture of who we are, what we desire, where we go. In all, we create a vast laboratory of human behavior for the data miners at the e-merchants, portals, and search engines. Last December, Yahoo! (YHOO) collected an industry-leading average of 2,520 bits of information about each one of its users.

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