Back in August, we learned about how certain trash cans in London are using ORB technology that allows them to spy on people’s habits through their smartphones. It appears that the spying trends just continue to get worse, and in most cases the users of the technology recognize that the people being spied on might not appreciate the intrusion so they are trying to keep it all very quiet.
The latest infringement upon personal privacy, unsurprisingly, comes courtesy of retail outlets. More from CBS:
As CBS 2′s Don Champion reported, a growing number of stores are using discrete and sophisticated technology — including mannequins with facial-recognition cameras hidden in their eyes — to track shopper demographics in an effort to boost sales. Retailers say the marketing data technology allows them to cater their business to customers better, but it’s also raising privacy concerns.
Alfonso Perez built a system called Shopperception that Walmart has utilized. It uses motion-sensored cameras to track a shopper’s product choice on a shelf and the time it takes to make a decision. Perez’s business has doubled in the past year.
Joel Reidenberg, a professor of technology at Princeton University, said retailers have tried to keep the technology use quiet.
Now here’s the key point.
“If the retailer is unwilling to be transparent with what they’re doing, the way they’re collecting information, how they’re using that information, it says they know their customers will be upset by it,” Reidenberg said.
“We have to decide, do we draw the line?” he said.
Americans haven’t been very good at drawing the line at much. Partly because we are such an ignorant culture. For example, did you know that Facebook stores the stuff you type as you type it, but then decide to delete and never actually post?
It might be time to start drawing the line before it’s too late.
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