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Brick-and-Mortar Tracking on the Rise

CONSUMER PRIVACY—U.S.

July 15, 2013

Last year, department store Nordstrom sought to learn more about its customers by testing a new technology that allowed it to track customers’ movements via the WiFi signals from their cell phones. But when it posted a sign telling customers they were being tracked, it heard complaints and eventually ended the program, The New York Times reports. “The creepy thing isn’t the privacy violation, it’s how much they can infer,” said one shopper. An increasing number of businesses now offer the technology for brick-and-mortar shops to track users like digital shops can. Meanwhile, the ACLU has criticized AT&T’s plans to sell anonymous customer location data, saying customers can be identified. (Registration may be required to access this story.)
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