Posted: 6:00 a.m. Monday, Sept. 2, 2013
By Clark Howard
Big retailers like Nordstrom, Benetton, Family Dollar, and Cabela's have been playing Big Brother and spying on you while you're in their stores.
The New York Times reports these retailers are using digital cameras to track your eyes and to track you in the store. When you download their apps, you also agree to let them monitor the pinging from your cell phone. So they can figure out what you look at and how long you stay in different parts of store. And the facial recognition software they run their video feeds through can even figure out your mood!
This is all being done in an effort to decide if they should hit you with custom coupons, what store layout should be like, etc. Of course, the profiling is really creepy. Yet retailers argue they're not doing anything that online retailers like Amazon aren't doing.
The takeaway for you is just know that the cameras you see that used to be solely for loss prevention are now really more about monitoring your behavior. In fact, there may be both types of cameras now. And know that if you download the retailer's app, they're creating an individual profile of you as you walk around the store.
Looks like government doesn't have a monopoly on Big Brother anymore. The problem is there are no rules of the road to govern this stuff!