July 17th, 2013
11:56 AM ET

Retail Stores Are Tracking Your Cell Phone

Retailers are now snooping on your shopping habits with cutting edge technology to follow your whereabouts  inside stores, CNN's Pamela Brown reports.

"The in-store analytics  makes it possible for retailers to understand things like where they go, where they stop. And ultimately how all of that translates to sales at the register," says Tim Callan, Chief Marketing Officer, RetailNext.

Upscale department chain Nordstrom recently ended a test program gathering pings from WiFi signals on customer's smart phones as they browsed through the store.

Some were outraged after learning about the in-store surveillance.

"Way over the line," one consumer wrote on Facebook.

What do you think? Is this fair or have stores gone too far in terms of privacy?

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soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. Swanie Tolentino

    I think there is a thin line between snooping and how retailers can add value and convince me that I am ok with being tracked. Got to have something in it for me! I am so personally vested in this topic but also have been in the technology space for years. Inspired me to write this blog appealing to retailers on what they can do to make this right (for me and for them) http://ibm.co/1cIur5O

    August 13, 2013 at 10:32 am | Reply
  2. Ngan Lamagna

    It’s actually a great and helpful piece of info. I’m satisfied that you shared this useful info with us. Please stay us up to date like this. Thank you for sharing.

    August 2, 2013 at 5:55 pm | Reply
  3. Joseph Bailey

    WOW! The above post must be from a person employed by store tracking cell phones. What is the legal basis for a business to track your cell phone? By what legal measure are they able to invade your cell phone for their purposes? Do they pay the bill on it? Can they "mark" you and follow you around the Mall? Isn't there an element of "profiling" here that upsets minorities??? This is an illegal search done by businesses and it needs to stop.

    July 20, 2013 at 5:31 am | Reply
  4. RYan R

    Privacy is not an issue in this case. You're in their store on their property. If they aren't hacking your phone to gather information but rather just pinging it, that falls under public information. Your cellphone sending out public WiFi signals in a public place is like shouting out a secret in a mall food court and then upset that people around were listening. If it bothers you turn off your WiFi in stores. I'm a very big proponent for privacy rights but when your not on someones property and they aren't gathering any private information, how are they violating a right to privacy? I don't see it. I think that's pretty smart on the stores part and hope it helps their business better serve the customers.

    July 18, 2013 at 4:46 pm | Reply
    • Rudriq

      RYan, since you are such a big proponent of privacy rights then you should be OK with requiring the store to display a sign warning people their phones will be pinged while in their property...do you suppose that will help their business?

      July 21, 2013 at 12:25 am | Reply

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