Big Brother Award for Jö Bonusclub

Last night was the yearly Big Brother Awards Gala in which people, companies, service, or products causing privacy issues are “awarded” for their contribution to mass surveillance. One of this year’s “winners” was the Jö Bonusclub, a service by Rewe in which bonus programs across their various brands (mostly grocery stores and drug stores) and partner companies have been combined. At first, the idea doesn’t sound too bad. Who doesn’t want to replace their 20 bonus cards with a single one in order to save a couple of Euros every month? There are a couple of issues, though:

  • The partner companies include banks and petrol stations which makes the collected data interesting for large-scale and extremely detailed profiling.
  • The data collected throughout the program is shared with partners
  • In most cases end-user benefits have deteriorated from the respective previous bonus program. For instance at Merkur you got benefits for the number of purchases per month (with a certain minimum value) while now you collect points and get these benefits after reaching a certain threshold every month.
  • It’s getting harder to find stores that are not partners and advertising in those with Jö is extremely aggressive.

These were just a few and there are probably lots more that I cannot think of right now. To be fair, I have this bonus card but I use it very rarely. I should really be getting rid of it, though, eventually.