Retail stores are tracking your smartphone, according to a new report published by The New York Times on Monday. The news outlet found that Nordstrom is already tracking shoppers and that others, including Mothercare, Family Dollar, Cabellas, Warby Parker and Benetton are also interested or already testing ways to track shopping habits. The revelation is particularly concerning considering we're still learning more about the details of PRISM and the alleged sharing of private information between major tech firms and the U.S. government.
The tracking doesn't seem to be that scary right now, all things considered. In fact, it's worth raising the argument that the more a store knows about your shopping habits the better it can advertise products that you might be interested in. If you're shopping for sports gear, for example, you probably don't want to know much about a sale on quilts on the fourth floor of Nordstrom. Still, The New York Times said that the aforementioned company is tracking the number of repeat visitors – that would require that it knows who you are, at some point, if even you're just a number – how often people walk through the door and more. It's not uncommon for retailers to keep this kind of information, Amazon does it all the time. Visit Amazon, for example, and you'll see ads for products you might be interested in based on your purchase history.
RetailNext is one of the firms that sells the technology to retail outlets in an effort to help them compete more efficiently with online competitors such as Amazon. It tracks when your phone searches for a Wi-Fi network and then can geo-locate you inside a store. It can then save that data as a unique identifier for when you return. Another company, Brickstream, uses video cameras to track customers, and the company argues that it's no different than an etailer tracking which websites you visit and how often – though, to be fair, being watched in person is more like "big brother" than tracking cookies on Web page.
Nordstrom isn't hiding, either. It has a sign that lets customers know it's tracking them. "We did hear some complaints," a spokeswoman told The New York Times. Go figure, in an age where privacy seems nonexistent, consumers have a right to be worried. One quick solution? Turn your phone off when you enter a store. The question that arises now, however, is what our privacy is worth. Are we willing to give it up for a 2-for-1 deal on jeans?
The Galaxy S20 Ultra's Space Zoom camera is amazing and a bit creepy
The Galaxy S20 Ultra supports up to 100X zoom, which Samsung calls Space Zoom, but is it any good? Can a phone really product usable photos at 100x zoom? We've got our Galaxy S20 Ultra already so join us to find out!
Win an iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch with the Reader's Choice giveaway!
What's the best phone of 2019? Is it the iPhone 11 Pro, Pixel 4 or OnePlus 7T? What about the best laptop, games console, tablet and more? Vote NOW in the Reader's Choice awards and win BIG in time for the holidays!
Here are the best products from IFA 2019!
Here are the products announced at IFA 2019 that were worthy of our Best of IFA 2019 awards. Also featuring MrMobile's single best product at the show!
Illustrate your brilliant ideas on the best whiteboards
Teaching, training, and brainstorming represent a fraction of activities that involve a lot of writing and erasing. What better medium to use than a whiteboard? We have a collection of some of the best whiteboards available today.