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How Did McDonald's Get Your Personal Info Anyway?

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Kramer: They're trying to screw with your head.

Jerry: Now why would a junior high school want to screw with my head?

Kramer: Why does Radio Shack ask for your phone number when you buy batteries? I don't know.
This Seinfeld exchange illustrates a nuisance retail customers have put up with for a long time. Be it Radio Shack, Best Buy, Target, or virtually any retail chain, at some point, the cashier will ask for a bit of personal info. Even when paying cash, I've been asked for a zip code, phone number, or email address. Rarely do I get an employee who's aware of how intrusive such a practice is and will enter in a random string of characters just to move on with the transaction.

It's scary enough to consider how many outlets you've willingly given your information to, but now we have to worry about Walmart and Old Navy? Just a dozen more places where personal data is stored behind a security system equivalent to a paper bag hastily sealed with some chewing gum.

But when I heard that McDonald's records were hacked and subsequently leaked, it made me wonder: Just how in the world did McDonald's get customers' personal information in the first place?

According to the Orange Country Register, Arc Worldwide -- a business partner of the Golden Arches which collects and stores information about Big Mac customers -- had its records compromised by an unauthorized third party. Information that was leaked included names, mobile phone numbers, postal addresses, email addresses, and other general preference information.

A company statement said, "Unfortunately, a third party was able to defeat the security measures put in place by the email database management firm to protect the information you provided to us."

"The information you provided us?" How? WHERE?!

Well, apparently, the company offers special email promotions via the official website. There, customers may have entered their personal data in order to, you know, save 30 cents on a Filet-O-Fish.

McDonald's stressed, "It is important to note that the information in the database did not include Social Security Numbers, credit card numbers, or any sensitive financial information." But I imagine it's through no fault of the company that customers hadn't willingly given those bits of information over to Hamburger University graduates.

Look, everyone. If you're logging into a website to check on McRib availability, for the love of God, use a disposable email, a fake name, and a mailing address at least four states over.
POSITION:  No positions in stocks mentioned.