Jan 142014
 
 January 14, 2014  Business, Featured News

Elizabeth Dwoskin reports:

Fan Zhang, the owner of Happy Child, a trendy Asian restaurant in downtown Toronto, knows that 170 of his customers went clubbing in November. He knows that 250 went to the gym that month, and that 216 came in from Yorkville, an upscale neighborhood.

And he gleans this information without his customers’ knowledge, or ever asking them a single question.

Mr. Zhang is a client of Turnstyle Solutions Inc., a year-old local company that has placed sensors in about 200 businesses within a 0.7 mile radius in downtown Toronto to track shoppers as they move in the city.

Read more on Wall Street Journal.

This is what happens when we have no expectation of privacy in public? Really?  And businesses can do what government couldn’t do without a warrant in some cases (or could the government do this, too, legally, with no warrant?)

Consider this:

Turnstyle’s weekly reports to clients use aggregate numbers and don’t include people’s names. But the company does collect the names, ages, genders, and social media profiles of some people who log in with Facebook FB -3.50% to a free Wi-Fi service that Turnstyle runs at local restaurants and coffee shops, including Happy Child. It uses that information, along with the wider foot traffic data, to come up dozens lifestyle categories, including yoga-goers, people who like theater, and hipsters.

So they’ve got the identified data, presumably stored for future profiling expansion? And how are those data protected from hackers?

I find this whole tracking thing very concerning, don’t you?

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