In “If you shop til you drop, will they track when you come back?“, Dan Tynan follows up his initial look at retail locations and their ability to track you through their store via your cell phone’s WiFi connection. He concentrates on a product from Euclid already deployed in retail locations.
On the scale of privacy threats, retail tracking like this is pretty far down the list. The apps we all blithely install on our phones and tablets, many of which collect location data and other personal information for no good reason, are much worse. And apps from retailers such as Orvis and Cabelas can send coupons or discounts directly to your phone – tracking you with much greater precision than a WiFi signal ever could.
But as Tynan points out in the first part of this article series, we are not choosing or even noticing that retailers are tracking us. When our phones switch to WiFi mode, they make themselves and our actions almost instantly trackable. And we don’t even notice.