May 082013
 May 8, 2013  Posted by  Business

CBS in Dallas-Forth Worth reports:

Nordstrom says it wants to serve you better, so it’s tracking your movements through their stores. The CBS 11 I-Team has learned the retailer is using software to track how much time you spend in specific departments within the store. The technology is being used in 17 Nordstrom and Nordstrom Rack stores nationwide, including the NorthPark store in Dallas.

A company spokesperson says sensors within the store collect information from customer smart phones as they attempt to connect to Wi-Fi service. The sensors can monitor which departments you visit and how much time you spend there.

However, the sensors do not follow your phone from department to department, nor can they identify any personal information tied to the phone’s owner, says spokesperson Tara Darrow.

Read more on CBSDFW.

So if you want to shop and don’t want to contribute to their “aggregate” information, you have to shut off your phone? I guess they can get away with this, but should they be able to?

Thanks to Joe Cadillic for this link.

  One Response to “Nordstrom Using Smart Phones To Track Customers Movements”

  1. Or, in this case, just turn off your wi-fi. I keep mine off by default unless I specifically need it on for some interval. Of course there are also technologies to track Bluetooth. The other is to put your phone in a Faraday Cage bag or container (some are available commercially) when in public. No, we shouldn’t have to jump through hoops to avoid routine commercial (and government) surveillance, but unless or until the rules change, we seem to be stuck with an extra burden. As privacy advocates, I think we should push for:

    1. Notification laws, so that consumers are alerted before entering a publicly-accessible place whether and how they will be monitored, and exactly what data is used and how.

    2. Clear and simple process to have your tracking data removed (true opt out, not just suppressing targeting)

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