Interesting – Starbucks Requiring EMAIL & ID for Internet

At my usual Starbucksk stop, the “login” was different. Instead of wanting you to click “I accept”, it now demands name, email, and “postal code” to log in.

OK, they got me this time. AND it leaves some kind of ‘beacon’ on your machine so you don’t need to “login” again next time, it just automagically connects.


I’m not keen on being spammed (and I’m sure Starbucks will now be sending me “information” on “specials”) and I’m not fond of being tracked (and I’m sure Starbucks will notice when I’m traveling cross country).

So my “portable Shop” project just got a priority bump. I also need to re-activate my pseudo-me account. I fed them a “nearby but bogus” postal code this time and that was accepted. I used my public email (as it’s the spam catcher anyway). And I gave them a mostly correct but “tag” name. (A friend changes the middle initial on such things to see who got it from whom…) I used a ‘nickname’ that I NEVER accept…

So OK, on the ToDo list:

A renewed Bogus_Me ID.
A Lunch Box portable shop that provides my own DNS, firewall, and such; but also can do a login to Starbucks and get “fingered”; but can also be flushed every so often and restarted as desired, and where I have Linux tools to find and quash any beacon activity when I’m NOT logged into Starbucks.

In Conclusion

Starbucks in now Privacy Hostile and must be treated accordingly.

I’ll be using Pete’s Coffee more.

Guess it’s time to make a 2nd “Starbucks only” chip for the Mac. Nice thing about external boot is it lets me have different chips for “me stuff” and “when unsure who is listening”.

Subscribe to feed

About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
This entry was posted in Tech Bits and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

26 Responses to Interesting – Starbucks Requiring EMAIL & ID for Internet

  1. jim2 says:

    I really like the SD card OS. If needed from any obscure reason, can be nuked in the microwave :)

  2. ossqss says:

    I will typically use my phone hotspot instead of public Wi-Fi. That became much more palatable once Verizon opened up for unlimited data usage. I can typically push 25 megabit connectivity through it.

  3. E.M.Smith says:


    Or dropped down the garbage disposal, or into the juice blender, or attached to one of the spark plug leads on your car, or used to test your propane torch (or camp stove or…), or just taken between the fingers and bent in half for the micro-sized I use…

    Or even just stuck under your tongue for a few hours…


    Oh Damn! I had mine in the bag in front of me and forgot about it! I’m not used to having it live and ready to go… I’ve got something like 20 GB pre-paid to use up! (Figured on a week of running the TV through it, then AT&T next day shipped a replacement router…)

    OK: Note To Self: USE THE BLEEPING HOT SPOT AT STARBUCKS… ( I’m still going to Peet’s instead on principle…)

  4. Steve C says:

    Similar thing happened to a friend recently, except that it wasn’t even an internet-related matter. He wanted to buy something from a local shop which was out of stock, but could easily be ordered in and picked up in a couple of days. He was fine with that, until the shop asked for name, postcode and email. From a customer who had given them the money and simply wanted to arrange to call into the shop in person to collect in a couple of days? WTF?

    They lost the sale, and he told them why.

  5. H.R. says:

    As far as The Failing New York Times is concerned, I’m a female native American Inuit born in 1904 and living at Wrigley Field. I needed to fill out a user profile back in the day to comment on Andy Revkin’s NYT climate blog.

    WordPress is under a similar impression, though I haven’t logged in to WordPress in years.

  6. E.M.Smith says:

    I’ve had some local businesses ask for name / email on transactions. My answer has always been the same:

    My name is Mr. Cash and I don’t do email…. as I hand them some folding green…

    I actually had one Millennial say “First Name?” to which I responded “Johnny”… as they merrily typed it in I could not contain myself: “Do you know who Johnny Cash” is?? blank stare…


    I’ve played with bits of an “alternate me” for a while now. I guess it’s time to go full on Bogo-Me ;-)

    I need a new bogus email address. (The public one isn’t bogus, I do use it, just expect it to collect the SPAM and crap too). I’ll need a Bogo-Me Name and ethnicity. I’ve played with a burner phone… so I know how to get that done. Paying for it still requires a real-me tagged account thanks to bogus Federal Banking Laws (no, I’m not interested enough to set up an overseas bank account under a Bogo-Me name…) but I’m OK with that. IF The Feds want to know the real me is paying for a phone number I never answer ( $10 / month Walmart internet phone) I’m OK with that.

    Then would come the hard part: Memorizing it all! ;-)

    FWIW, you can do a DBA filing and use a “company name” like “Margaret Best!” and then use that as a legal name in transactions… Just sayin’… Even a bank account. Government is happy as they can track it back to you. I don’t do it as the DBA stuff includes your real address and I’m just not interested in that being public. (For that, you need one more indirection. Point it to a personal mail box for a fee service – and file ANOTHER paper with the government saying who you really are and where you really live and your phone number … but that one isn’t published.)

    Oh Well… it’s the price you pay for some minor privacy…

    Now, just what do I want to be my “Character”….. Mei Yu Lei? Juwana Bytemei? Decisions decisions ;-)

  7. philjourdan says:

    I like the idea of the wandering middle initial. I remember back in the 90s when I set up Real Audio for a school library and used the school name for the forced registration (I had to use my email as it would not take a dummy). About 10 years later I started getting stuff addressed to “Mr. Skipwith”.

    I know where they got the information from. Just as well that RA died. I sure was not using their product!

  8. llanfar says:

    I use my password manager to keep track of any spurious info I give out. It’s nice having birthdays in June, August, October, etc…

  9. E.M.Smith says:

    I warms my heart to hear that so many of us have already been using the “Dirty The Data” method. Gives me encouragement that so many folks believe the crap they demand from us is valid ;-)

  10. Jeff says:

    Sometimes we don’t even have to mess the data up; they do it all by themselves.

    Years ago I got a threatening letter from the Department of Education in reference to a payment for a student loan which had already been paid off, for years. It demanded, in no uncertain terms, a payment of 10/31/1981, or else terrible things would happen to me…..

    A few years after that, I was working at, let’s say, a very large database and applications company in CA, and I got a frantic request for expert DB and Apps help from, yep, the US Department of Education.

    The woman said, “help, my data is salad” (or something like that).

    I replied, “I know”…..

    Seems they were in the process of moving to a new system, and only then realized the extent of their problems. (Funny that, I suspect a lot of former students knew that already)…..

  11. Sandy MCCLINTOCK says:

    I get lots of happy birthday messages every 1st January from many companies… I can’t think why ;)

  12. E.M.Smith says:

    Gee… Interesting idea…

    Think I’m going to make my “birth day” April 1…

  13. ossqss says:

    Try placing a birth date out to something like 4-1-2050, or one from 1850 and see how the CRM systems do with it. You may be suprised…..

  14. E.M.Smith says:

    Or make it 4/1/2016 and see how much sanity check they have ;-)

  15. Jeff says:

    And then tell them your name is Julian Gregory…..

  16. Sandy MCCLINTOCK says:

    Google check your age – is it over 18 I think!

  17. E.M.Smith says:


    I assume you mean this Julian Gregory Day, and not the attorney nor the singer:


    One of the joys of my name is that it isn’t possible to “Google Me”. There’s millions of “me”… so I have no idea how I could possible “Google check” my age…

    One per 2000 of working population in The Valley…

  18. p.g.sharrow says:

    Dirty the data lists! Ha! been doing that for years. Back in the 1970s I studied up on the mail order business and learned that the real money was in renting out your mailing lists and not the product that you were marketing, So I began to put markers in every response that I made to see where the fliers and cold calls that I received originated from. More to see where advertising dollars might be most effective rather then rat f ing the data miners.

    As to unique names, I thought mine was until I offered my gas charge card at a station in Anchorage and the attendant said He personally knew the the guy who’s name was on that card and it wasn’t me! After some effort I convinced him it really was my card. And I learned of the existence of another family line…pg

  19. philjourdan says:

    @PG – LOL at the credit card! Never had that problem (but then while my name is not as common as EMs, it is not rare either).

  20. Jeff says:

    @E.M., I actually went to school with a Greg (Gregory) Julian… His brother was on the soccer team… I just flipped his name around… (good thing I’m half a globe away :) ).

    Don’t remember teasing him about his name, though it might be because I was on the socially lowly “nerd team”…

  21. cdquarles says:

    For a really rare name like mine, that’s a problem. Better to dirty the record in my case.

  22. philjourdan says:

    CD – Quarles is a big name in this area. Not that a lot have it, but they are prominent in small business around here (and stuck it on their business).

  23. E.M.Smith says:

    Maybe we could start a movement for a standardized name / DOB / etc. Like the “Kilroy Was Here” of W.W.II that was everywhere yet nobody “did it” …

    Johnathan J Jones (for the “Smiths keeping up with the Jones’s ;-) but folks who want to mutate the middle initial can. Have a common email somewhere that nobody needs to read, but anyone can if they like. Maybe something like “”… DOB 4/1/1976 (so folks can enter sites like beer making that require you be old enough).

    Think of it as Copy Left Open Source Identity… Someone could set up a valid address (preferably in a jurisdiction that doesn’t require a POB to have a real person’s identity public behind it) and occasionally collect / toss the crap mail. Someone else could run the email spam catcher site.

    One complication I can see is some places require you to get an ID, then send your login credentials to the given email, so for some uses there would need to be a more private dummy email address. But folks could chose that on their own I guess.

    I suppose after a while some places would catch on and set a filter to not accept that identity, so every so often it would be needed to re-candle into another one.

    Hmmm…. I smell a business opportunity: where you can “check out an identity” for use for some period of time, then when done, return it. Have a library of pre-made identities (like gamer avatars) and just like using a VPN service, you connect to the site, check out an identity, then proceed on to the rest of the world with all email, IP tracking, etc. leading back to the Temp_ID user server… So for, say, $5 / month, I can be Sally Sinseerly and have email et. al. ready to go. When tired of it, release the ID (and all history and old email evaporates) and go on with my life or choose to pick up Harry d’Bacque for a while…

  24. John Howard says:

    I quit Starbucks after their CEO insulted our vets… so not a problem.

  25. E.M.Smith says:

    Well, there’s a Peet’s in Santa Clara so I’m all set:

    1. Peet's Coffee
    70 reviews
        $ · Coffee & Tea
        2002 El Camino Real
  26. Jeff says:

    How about I.M. Spartacus?

    Or E.M. Spartacus ? :)

Comments are closed.