Last year Google announced a new feature for advertisers called Store Sales Measurement, which gave the company access to around 70% of US credit and debit card data.
According to an investigation by Bloomberg, Google and MasterCard brokered a partnership that would bestow on the search giant an unprecedented asset for measuring retail spending.
MasterCard received millions of dollars for the data, according to two people who worked directly on the deal. Neither the terms nor the existence of the deal was made known to the public nor to MasterCard customers.
For its part, Google released a statement that says the ads tool includes a “new, double-blind encryption technology that prevents both Google and our partners from viewing our respective users’ personally identifiable information. We do not have access to any personal information from our partners’ credit and debit cards, nor do we share any personal information with our partners.”
Bloomberg’s report gives much greater insights into Google’s numerous means of collecting data from its users, devoting nearly 2,000 words to the minutia of its relationship with advertisers—and ultimately, empowering itself.