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Retail Stores Are Tracking You Using Your Smartphone


Sledgstone
  • Nordstrom’s experiment is part of a movement by retailers to gather data about in-store shoppers’ behavior and moods, using video surveillance and signals from their cellphones and apps to learn information as varied as their sex, how many minutes they spend in the candy aisle and how long they look at merchandise before buying it.

    All sorts of retailers — including national chains, like Family Dollar, Cabela’s and Mothercare, a British company, and specialty stores like Benetton and Warby Parker — are testing these technologies and using them to decide on matters like changing store layouts and offering customized coupons.

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Basically as long as you have WIFI turned on, your phone will recognize WIFI networks in the area. Even if you do not connect to any WIFI networks, those networks can see your phone and just like your phone can recognize a network is in the area... But these networks will record your MAC address and can then determine your position in the store, watch where you are going and know everything you are looking at as long as you are within range of it.

Turn your WIFI off when you are not using it.

Source: Lifehacker

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I was talking to my brother earlier today about this and he made a good point. Most malls have free WIFI.. well, now we all know why malls have free WIFI, its because they are data mining the hell out of everyone.

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Uh oh.. I just realized that RFID over WIFI is an actual technology.. Employers could embed RFID chips into employee badges and completely track their employees every move regardless of cell phones. O_O

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Pfft, those poor RFID chips would last all of a day at Wal-Mart. Both my badges are so beat up that I'm surprised they're still in one piece (though one is being held together by lots and lots of tape).

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If not for employee tracking, stores could do something else.. They could extend their WIFI networks out to their parking lots and into streets, then get RFID chips embedded into the packaging of more expensive items. The system could then auto alert an employee when a HD TV leaves the store, where it went to in the parking lot and then what direction it drove away in. Then the security could look at the parking lot security camera, rewind the footage and have a license plate to report to the police.

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That would actually be one of the best things retail stores could do to help eliminate shrinkage. I know my store would benefit from something like this since we lose a lot of merchandise during the night since we're so short staffed (hell the other night a customer stole over $1000 worth of jewelry). Plus the fact that Wal-Mart doesn't allow us to stop the shoplifters before they get out of the store this could help management alert the cops faster and give more details. Honestly I'm surprised this hasn't been looked into yet.

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