On the train to work this morning I noticed something that I’m seeing more of lately. Air Canada Aeroplan Elite luggage tags affixed to laptop bags and backpacks. The part of this that is perplexing was that the user’s full name and Aeroplan number are printed on them and readily viewable by others from at least 10 feet away. At what point did this seem like a good idea?

Here are some pieces of information that can help to socially engineer the subject. I now know their FULL name and that they are Aeroplan elite members. So, slap the name into Google and a phone directory based on the station that they boarded the train.


So, in less than two minutes I was able to pull up this person’s (from a tag viewed this morning) address and place of business from my iPhone. Further to that I also know that they are frequent travelers and based on the address I know they are most likely affluent. If they are “super elite” status then they need 100,000 miles just to qualify. Basically their feet seldom touch the ground.

If I were a nefarious sort I could have a field day.

Then, if we look deeper we see linkages with other promotional partners. Hmm, RFID tags with credit card information.

This just keeps getting better. Please take the time to think it through before you expose your “elite status” to the world.

Privacy fail.


  1. I won’t start into the whole RFID credit card thing (grr) but the Elite tags I have just have my name on them, not my Aeroplan number. This may vary from year to year or something…


  2. A majority of people who travel enough to get Elite status are in sales or some customer facing role, and are hardly ‘affluent’.

    The affluent people are easy to identify. They have their own jet, or at the very least are seated in first class.

  3. @Reader

    Fair enough. I should alter that slightly to say, that “they tend to reside in affluent neighbourhoods that would be of interest to ne’er do wells”.

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