on Credit Cards, you wrote:They wouldn't use the 5 point list because credit card companies don't have physical products to sell, and my list categories people bases on likelihood of purchasing electronics or computer-related merchandise. The credit card companies sell convenience. They collect their data from other business entities and the card they offer you is their judgment of you. It's not just credit limit either. It's your interest rate, the fringe benefits to using your card (like automatic fraud protection when used over internet - most have this now), or like getting to choose minor items associated with the card (your pay due date within the month, the COLOR or PICTURE on the card, extra statements available, categorized statements for businesses...) The list I used isn't meant to fit every business.
Not stereotyping. Almost every option available through any given CC company will be available for all members. For example, the rewards points for my American Express. I didn't have to "qualify" to earn those. It was a benefit of having the card. Other than your interest rate and your late fees, all other features of that card are available at your choosing. Interest rate and late fees are based on the contract and your personal credit performance, not their opinion of you as a person.
on Grocery Stores, you wrote:Again, my list doesn't fit their business model. But they DO collect information on me as a person, and it does have a direct effect. They DO keep a compilation of what you buy, and try to spot patterns to try to stock the least amount of products that will satisfy the greatest amount of consumers. No problem with that so far. They also cooperate with police, say, by telling them who buys lots and lots and LOTS of cold medication. And guess what? Skipping from MegaFoods Store A, to MegaFoods Store B, C, D doesn't work. The databases are linked. You can't escape. While I'm not a drug manufacturer, I do have a bit of problem with this. My point is that Aerie, who hates BB for categorizing, should hate most stores, because categorization in some form is taking place everywhere.
We're not even talking about grouping here. We're talking about data collection. That's not stereotyping. They are not judging you or treating you, or coming to any conclusions about you differently based on the data they have collected. I mentioned apples and oranges earlier... this one is a plum.
on the Library, you wrote:And is available to the courts. I forget the court case where someone in Washington DC had all their bookstore and library checkouts examined both by investigators and press. And libraries already have a list of books they watch who checks them out. They silently categorize you.
Same point as the grocery store. They are collecting data (and still, tracking their books). Now, yes, you may be profiled based on what books you check out... but you're not going to be grouped as a terrorist as soon as you walk through the door because you once checked out a book on explosives. This one's a plum too.
on the IRS, you wrote: IRS categorized you in so many ways. Low vs High income. Industrial worker vs Agribusiness worker. Investor vs non-investor. Married-with-children vs unmarried-and-no-kids. And they make you pay based on it. Direct categorization.
Again, we're still not stereotyping. On this one, we're just grouping. The division lines here are based on confirmable and quantifiable data. If it were a stereotype, we'd be grouped based on someone's opinion about superficial traits that they have observed.
on Microsoft, you wrote:Microsoft is trying to put DRM into its Windows XP operating system. I don't want DRM in my OS thank-you-very-much. It's a blanket categorization of everyone as pirates. Or I could point out all the lovely information that Microsoft hides about you on your own computer (and empty-internet-history and delete-temporary-files and clean-internet-cache does not take care of it. Or I could point out it's tech support lines (the worst in the business, and most expensive) where they judge you by what product you are having a problem with, and what aspect of it, and continues to categorize from there. Or I could point out its general attitude of we-don't-play-well-with-others when it comes to other businesses (look at OS2).
I think someone else hit in the DRM thing. I don't really know much about it, but your view on the "everyone as pirates"... yes. that would be stereotyping. "all computer users are hackers and pirates". that's a wonderful example of stereotyping.
I have had very, very little experience with dealing with MS directly (tech or otherwise), so I cannot comment one way or the other. I have been stereotyped by other "customer help" facilities in that they believed that since i was a customer, I was an idiot and beneath them. Yup... that's stereotyping.
on Airlines et al, you wrote:Apparently you haven't tried going thru the airport as a burly bearded olive-skinned male. Remember there was a big scandal when they actually asked such a person to exit the plane after boarding, and made sure to take off his baggage because the pilots were nervous of him. He turned out to be innocent. He did miss that flight though. Remember Slashdot story on the airlines sharing live data with the government for classification and screening of passengers (after they said they weren't collecting the data for that purpose)? And those secure pat-downs in the airport, you don't think they are TOTALLY random, do you?
This is another area that I've not had personal experience... never flown anywhere.
This is profiling, not stereotyping. Although, with some of the people in charge, I'm sure the line between would be blurred at times. I can easily see an "experienced" guard thinking that he could "see a terrorist a mile away"... and is actually doing so based in superficial observations that he believes are his insights. That would be stereotyping.
On Police, you wrote:Not the point I was trying to make. They collect data on people and treat them accordingly. Those little computers in their car can bring up a lot of information up on you. That is completely legal, whereas profiling is NOT. Remember about two years ago, a Philadelphia kid was shot running from the police? The police said over the police band that the kid had "15 outstanding warrants". It has been alleged (and makes sense) that because of that information the police pursuit him far more aggressively than someone who had none. It turns out that all 15 warrants were simple traffic violations (no license was 8 of them), and didn't show up in court because he didn't have money to pay it off, and didn't want to go to jail. An extreme example of poor categorization. But police DO collect information and categorize upon it. Watch Cops. Lots of categorization statements in there (completely legal).
Same as the airline... but with guns and, sometimes, being done "in the heat of the moment". I live in Florida... in the SE USA. Most of the Caucasian law enforcement officials would probably give the benefit of the doubt to other Caucasians before others. Without an objective review of all available data, and relying on superficial traits, "profiling" can easily be stereotyping. Police would, in my opinion, fit in both categories.
I hope I've clarified my position a bit more.