no privacy in Nebraska

Powerball officials said that the winning ticket in the $365 million lottery on Sat 25-Feb-2006 was purchased at the U-Stop, 110 West “O” St. in Lincoln, Nebraska. It was purchased at 3:09pm on Fri 17-Feb-2006. Since they didn’t know the identity of the ticket holder for several days, the store decided to review its surveillance tapes to see if they could find the buyer.

That is by far the wrong use for store surveillance tapes. Just knowing that they review their tapes of customers to find out who bought an item is itself is not very honorable. What’s worse is that they shared the results of their search with lottery officials and the media. The information was used in this article in the Freedom (Neb.) Tribune.

What’s next? If their records show that someone bought condoms, are they going to share surveillance data with the local newspaper?

I don’t mind giving my business to a store with surveillance cameras. But I do expect that the tapes are used only in situations where the police or other appropriate authorities are involved.

Beware Lincolnites!! The next time you buy something at U-Stop on West O Street in your home town, information about you may end up on the front page of the newspapers all over the country.