College Students Paying for Coffee With Their Personal Data

This post is not K-12 education-related per se, but I was emailed a story at NPR about a coffee shop, Shiru Cafe, near Brown University in Providence, RI jaw-dropping.

Students get free coffee, but only if they give up personal data.

Chaiel Schaffel reports:

(Sarah) Ferris (an assistant manager) will turn away customers if they’re not college students or faculty members. The cafe allows professors to pay, but students have something else the shop wants: their personal information.


To get the free coffee, university students must give away their names, phone numbers, email addresses and majors, or in Brown’s lingo, concentrations. Students also provide dates of birth and professional interests, entering all of the information in an online form. By doing so, the students also open themselves up to receiving information from corporate sponsors who pay the cafe to reach its clientele through logos, apps, digital advertisements on screens in stores and on mobile devices, signs, surveys and even baristas.

According to Shiru’s website: “We have specially trained staff members who give students additional information about our sponsors while they enjoy their coffee.”

Specifically, the sponsors are companies who want to inform students about future career opportunities. 

Unreal. How long do you think before we see something like this at a high school near you? It’s not like student data isn’t being mined other ways. Good grief.

Read the rest.