Privacy for consumers

Are you feeling like consumer cattle?

People are becoming increasingly concerned about the harvesting of their personal information for commercial analysis and gain. Or is that all it is being used for? Are employees of companies, or other members of companies sometimes taking a look at someone's personal data for unscrupulous reasons? Have you been in the situation where you were compelled to give your personal details to a company employee that you would rather not have done? Have you, in such a situation, had your personal details spilled within earshot of other members of the public, say, in a line of customers?

Increasingly, stores and merchants are gathering details of a personal nature where a simple "member number" would probably be sufficient. And not to be confused with a global ID number common to any trader, but simply a number exclusive to you only on a particular merchant's system. Wouldn't that be enough to accrue "reward points" or what ever?