Bad News Bears: Privacy risk in the toy store

You're never too young to market to, apparently. San Francisco Chronicle columnist David Lazarus wrote his column on Wednesday about the privacy perils even tots face in this increasingly consumerized digital world. He talked to the mother of two children, ages 7 and 9, who went to a Build-A-Bear Workshop at an outlet in Santa Clara, Calif., to order customized teddy bears. While entering information into a computer at the store for "birth certificates" for the bears, the kids were asked to provide their name, birth date, gender, home address and e-mail address. Boxes giving the company permission to contact the children with offers and promotions were checked by default. Lazarus contacted the company, which declined to comment on whether it shares its mailing list with third parties. Maybe it's time to include classes on "opt in/out," "identity theft" and "pesky marketers" in grade school. The moral of this story, kiddies, is don't trust strangers with candy, or questionnaires.

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