Attention Black Friday Shoppers: You Will Be Tracked
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
The busiest shopping day of the year is set for a new level of consumer exploitation at two American malls.
A notice appearing at Promenade Temecula in California, and Short Pump Town Center in Richmond, Va. will advise shoppers that their cell phone signal will be used to track them as they move from store to store.
Although the system that is being employed is guaranteed not to collect personal data, and people can opt-out by turning off their phone, we have heard this all before when justifying why it is OK to track, trace, and database the movements of everyday citizens.
According to a CNN report:
“The goal is for stores to answer questions like: How many Nordstrom shoppers also stop at Starbucks? How long do most customers linger in Victoria’s Secret? Are there unpopular spots in the mall that aren’t being visited?”
This is supposedly being done, of course, to identify which stores and items people desire most, thus enhancing the shopping experience for store customers. This is the very same reason that was presented to encourage people to sign-up for “loyalty cards” and “frequent-shopper” cards. However, as we have come to find out, these systems of convenient shopping are more accurately described as data collection systems that can be used to profile people’s shopping habits, their physical movement, as well as for other uses far beyond the scope of the shopping experience.