Pam Dixon on Wisconsin NPR: Who’s tracking you as you shop? (And how?)

Retail privacy | Executive director Pam Dixon will be on Wisconsin NPR at 6 am Central Tuesday, July 30 to discuss the privacy issues consumers face with the growing sophistication of consumer retail tracking technology in stores. “Most people do not realize that as they shop, retailers are increasingly using a variety of tracking techniques ranging from digital signage with cameras to technology that tracks the movement of their mobile phones over time,” said Pam Dixon. “In our research, we have found some very large stores using these technologies, but it is rare for a store to provide notification to consumers, and rarer still to let consumers opt out — or better yet, opt in to this technology.”

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More information about this issue: WPF’s report about retail tracking, The One Way Mirror Society

From the One Way Mirror Society:

“New forms of sophisticated digital signage networks are being deployed widely by retailers and others
in both public and private spaces. From simple people-counting sensors mounted on doorways to
sophisticated facial recognition cameras mounted in flat video screens and end-cap displays, digital
signage technologies are gathering increasing amounts of detailed information about consumers, their
behaviors, and their characteristics.

These technologies are quickly becoming ubiquitous in the offline world, and there is little if any
disclosure to consumers that information about behavioral and personal characteristics is being
collected and analyzed to create highly targeted advertisements, among other things. In the most
sophisticated digital sign networks, for example, individuals watching a video screen will be shown
different information based on their age bracket, gender, or ethnicity.

While most consumers understand a need for security cameras, few expect that the video screen they
are watching, the kiosk they are typing on, or the game billboard they are interacting with is watching
them while gathering copious images and behavioral and demographic information. This is creating a
one-way-mirror society with no notice or opportunity for consumers to consent to being monitored in
retail, public, and other spaces or to consent to having their behavior analyzed for marketing and profit.”
… more here.

  • Posted July 30, 2013 in