TJX Settles Visa Suit About Data Breach
Whistleblower's Personal Data Published On the Internet

RoboScalpers: Somewhere (Online) There Is a Crime Happening

It's the holidays and you want to see your favorite theater show, concert, or sports event. As soon as tickets are available, you try to buy them online but the event is already sold out. Have you ever wondered why this happens? According to a recent post at the Consumerist blog:

"Ticketmaster is suing RMG Technologies for selling lecherous software that instantly sucks up tickets to everyone's favorite concerts and sporting events. Groups like RMG are the reason tickets sell out just minutes after going on sale, only to mysteriously reappear at outrageously marked up prices on ticket resale sites like StubHub."

When consumers buy tickets online, there is an implicit level of trust that everyone has equal access to tickets. Consumer trust that they and other humans are buying tickets, and are not competing against machines for tickets. Obviously, this is not the case and the consumers' trust is being abused. The Consumerist post clearly describes how ticket-resellers acquire tickets, which some call "RoboScalping":

"How brokers can jump to the front of the line is described in supplemental documents filed in Ticketmaster v. RMG Technologies, an active Federal District Court case asserting that the defendant's automated ticket-buying software violated the Ticketmaster Web site's terms of use. The papers describe a subterranean world of software designed to enter Ticketmaster's online ticket-purchasing system at will and to scoop up tickets without limits."

What does this have to do with identity theft and corporate responsibility? Plenty. The process of RoboScalping costs consumers plenty. We lose the opportunity to buy tickets at or near face value; we pay higher ticket prices from ticket-resellers, or we miss attending the event. To buy large quantities of tickets, the RoboScalpers use automated software to pretend they are humans. And the companies involved go along with this deception because there is money to be made.

To learn more, read this SF Weekly article.

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