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Stores and national chains are tracking your cell to see what you look at, how long you look at it, when you come in, and even what sex you are.

The other day I was Googling a some shoes and afterwards, every website's ads I visited showed me Nordstrom's picture of them. I got so tired of it I ended up deleting all my cookies. Online stores can track what we look at, giving them an advantage over brick and mortar retailers - so should we be pissed?

From the article:

RetailNext, based in San Jose, Calif., adds data from shoppers’ smartphones to deduce even more specific patterns. If a shopper’s phone is set to look for Wi-Fi networks, a store that offers Wi-Fi can pinpoint where the shopper is in the store, within a 10-foot radius, even if the shopper does not connect to the network, said Tim Callan, RetailNext’s chief marketing officer.

The store can also recognize returning shoppers, because mobile devices send unique identification codes when they search for networks. That means stores can now tell how repeat customers behave and the average time between visits.

My question is ~ do they also track our cell's contacts and calls? How much are we giving away?
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Comment Preferences

  •  Being 'tracked" is not "giving" away (15+ / 0-)

    it's "being taken from".

    Just because something is doable, doesn't mean it is 'right' or that we are not being unduly taken advantage of.

    It is "unreasonable search"

    This is just one more reason we need a Bill of Rights to protect us from Corporate overreach.

    And no....this shit doesn't keep us safe from terror attacks, for those who just have to whine about that.

  •  We are tracked online, and being tracked in a (7+ / 0-)

    bricks and mortar physical space is no different.  It may seem creepier and more intrusive, but it is a pleasant delusion to think that when you step foot in a physical retail space, you are somehow more entitled to privacy in that company's space, than you are when you enter their online digital spaces.  It's all corporate controlled and the laws are written to permit corporations to hijack our cell data and use data in this way.  So I am not surprised at all.

    I think people should stage flashmob-type interventions in stores to mess with the stores' data collection.  They should all hover by the stock on which the store makes the least profit, and doing so repeatedly will send back data indicating that the store needs to stock more of it.  Or a bunch of women should come every day repeatedly and stand by the mens' socks section.  Mess with those datagathering heads.

    That's one more thing to add to my long list of small problems. --my son, age 10

    by concernedamerican on Mon Jul 15, 2013 at 03:30:52 AM PDT

    •  I'd like to find apps that send erroneous (5+ / 0-)

      or even damaging info to store locaters and other such needlessly intrusive devices.

      Of course, I am also thinking I'd like to ditch smartphones altogether, have a very basic phone - just for talkin and use a tablet that I can turn off so it can't be access, triangulated etc...

      Sure a basic phone can be triangulated.... but it cant hold/store any useful data that others can snoop.

      Other than the NSA - because we wouldn't want ME to attack America.

      •  Maybe you should try to start an online movement (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        xxdr zombiexx

        away from smart phones, among progressives.  An "off the grid" movement in cyberspace, so to speak.

        That's one more thing to add to my long list of small problems. --my son, age 10

        by concernedamerican on Mon Jul 15, 2013 at 04:50:24 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'm already in. (7+ / 0-)

          Unplug whenever possible, minimize your data leaks, screw fecebook and twitter and all those other "services" that do things for you "for free" while selling you to the highest bidder (if you can't figure out how they make their money then YOU are the product they are selling to someone).
          Don't fill out the auto-fill register in your device. Don't use your device for anything you want to keep private, eCommerce, medical, legal, financial records...
          The spying by our government, while it's troubling in an abstract way, is less intrusive than the continuous mining of your information by any and all commercial interests (unless you really are plotting to attack US).

          If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

          by CwV on Mon Jul 15, 2013 at 05:10:00 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  the doc in the box last week suggested I take (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            CwV, greengemini, nchristine

            a cell-phone photo of my current meds list "to keep it handy" if I needed to see a doctor again.

            I showed him my flip-phone, metal-case Motorola Razr 3.X with its postage-stamp-size screen, and he was all, "well, with your next phone, then."

            Um, no.

            LBJ, Van Cliburn, Ike, Wendy Davis, Lady Bird, Ann Richards, Barbara Jordan, Molly Ivins, Sully Sullenburger, Drew Brees: Texas is NO Bush League!

            by BlackSheep1 on Mon Jul 15, 2013 at 08:27:50 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Yeah, and when you drop your phone (3+ / 0-)

              somewhere and someone thumbs through your pictures...
              My fave is people taking pictures of themselves and their friends with a giant pot plant and a bong!
              Quick tip for savvy criminals: Don't make evidence of crimes unless you are planning to blow the whistle.

              If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

              by CwV on Mon Jul 15, 2013 at 08:38:05 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  nothing I take is a "controlled" substance (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                CwV

                but I'm on meds for diabetes, reflux, and hyperlipidemia.I've got an ICE phone number in that communicator. What more do they need?
                (Yes. I'm going to my regular doc this pm for follow-up. I plan to get an updated meds list, as I'll be spending the next 4 days on the road / Houston. I could get hit by a bus....)

                LBJ, Van Cliburn, Ike, Wendy Davis, Lady Bird, Ann Richards, Barbara Jordan, Molly Ivins, Sully Sullenburger, Drew Brees: Texas is NO Bush League!

                by BlackSheep1 on Mon Jul 15, 2013 at 08:55:18 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  Can't people just (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            nchristine

            Turn off their phones in a store? Remember, if you are over 20, that most of your life you did not walk around with a phone in your pocket. You survived. You can survive the hour or so it takes to shop. Honest.

  •  What bugs me is after I buy something I get those (9+ / 0-)

    ads of the thing I just bought- like why would I buy it again?? Shows me their Stupidity!!

    "Time is for careful people, not passionate ones." "Life without emotions is like an engine without fuel."

    by roseeriter on Mon Jul 15, 2013 at 04:04:30 AM PDT

    •  The flaw in the system is the asssumption (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Catana, greengemini

      that what one has done one will do again. That normal human behavior is random and can't be tracked simply doesn't compute because tracking is what they want to do. Demand or want is the principle by which humans are supposedly directed because demand is able to be restricted or satisfied. In other words, demand provides a handle by which humans can be controlled and control is what authoritarians are after. Why? Because, for the most part, authoritarians are not able to provide for themselves and need someone to do for them. It's their lack of basic talents which makes them vulnerable. So, to compensate for their insecurity, they demand.

      We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

      by hannah on Mon Jul 15, 2013 at 04:16:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It simply doesn't compute because it's not true. (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        CwV, Deep Texan, terabytes, grover
        That normal human behavior is random and can't be tracked simply doesn't compute because tracking is what they want to do.
        Normal human behavior—the normal behavior of any species, for that matter—is anything but random. Human behavior comes out of responses to stimuli, responses that more often than not follow knowable and understandable patterns.

        There may be random variations on the moment-to-moment level, but just as with weather and climate, those variations are themselves part of a larger pattern that can be known, understood, and forecast to a certain degree of probability.

        "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

        by JamesGG on Mon Jul 15, 2013 at 04:29:39 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Nature is random. Humans try to find patterns (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          greengemini

          because that's what the human brain prefers and patterns are necessary to make predictions and exercise control. Memory makes us do it. But, finding a pattern does not mean it actually exists.
          Also, there are no normal humans. Each one is unique. I'd go so far as to argue that each person is a species unto him/herself.

          We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

          by hannah on Mon Jul 15, 2013 at 05:17:38 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  No. Nature is not random at all. (5+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Deep Texan, terabytes, jfromga, grover, SuWho

            Nature follows a set of knowable laws, laws that not only describe what is currently happening but can accurately predict what will happen in the future.

            The predictive factor is what tells us that those patterns, the physical laws, are not simply a figment of our imaginations or an attempt to make sense of the world, but actual characteristics of the universe that govern the behavior of real things.

            If the universe were truly "random," it would be just as likely tomorrow that the laws of motion might go on the fritz and the Earth might lose its inertia, hurtling into the sun at 9.8 m/s/s, or whatever rate gravity decided it was going to be that day. If the universe were truly "random," we would be incapable of determining any pattern at all to its behavior.

            Random fluctuations occur on the quantum level, but above that level there is very little that is not predictable if one understands the laws that govern the physical universe and is capable of collecting and analyzing a sufficient amount of data.

            And each person is not "a species unto him/herself"; while there are variations among humans, we have far, far more in common with one another than is unique to ourselves as individuals. Patterns emerge in human behavior that enable the prediction of future behaviors with a reasonably high degree of probability.

            I know you may not want to believe that, but as Neal DeGrasse Tyson says, that's the thing about science: it's true whether you want it to be or not.

            "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

            by JamesGG on Mon Jul 15, 2013 at 05:38:58 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  The nice thing about the truth is that (0+ / 0-)

              is that it cannot be proved.

              We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

              by hannah on Mon Jul 15, 2013 at 06:06:58 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  The nice thing about reality.... (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                grover, Nance

                ...is that it operates in predictable and consistent ways.

                That's what enabled stars to form, explode, and form other stars and planets from their remnants, enabled those planets to hold magnetic fields and atmospheres, enabled (at least) one of those planets to develop molecules that could reproduce themselves and adapt to their surroundings, and enabled those molecules over billions of years to develop into intelligent beings, who can understand the predictable and consistent laws by which the universe operates.

                If gravity, the speed of light, electromagnetism, the strong and weak nuclear forces, etc. were all variable from moment to moment, operating "randomly" as you seem to think nature works, none of those things would be at all possible. They are dependent on a universe in which the laws of physics and chemistry operate in more or less the same way everywhere, at all times.

                "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

                by JamesGG on Mon Jul 15, 2013 at 06:55:19 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

        •  That's totally it. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          terabytes, nchristine

          Hang out with a spouse or friend for a while.

          They think they come home or go through the grocery store, shopping mall, the dog park, sort the mail,  whatever randomly. But all you have to do is watch them, and you instantly see that they do the same thing in the same pattern about 80-90% of the time.

          Even I, who tend to be really unorganized, probably hit 80% according to my husband. He, who is the left brained and organized one, is probably at 97%.

          How do I absolutely know this is true? I live with dogs. They watch us all the time. Their lives depend upon knowing what we're doing. If I brush my hair before I put on my shoes, it means we're staying home. If I put on my shoes before brushing my hair, it means we're going out.

          (It really does. I had no idea how they knew when we were leaving until I stopped and really noticed my meta-routines.)

          Dogs totally know it: humans have routines that are totally predictable.

          © grover


          So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

          by grover on Mon Jul 15, 2013 at 09:20:17 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  No. They do not. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Deep Texan
    My question is ~ do they also track our cell's contacts and calls?
    At least, not just by your connecting to their wi-fi.

    The MAC address (the unique ID number the article refers to) is part of any device's attempt to seek wi-fi networks. It's a relatively simple thing to track.

    But simply having your MAC address doesn't give anyone access to your phone's software, contacts, calls, or any other data.

    "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

    by JamesGG on Mon Jul 15, 2013 at 04:20:11 AM PDT

    •  Unless they use an exploit or three to get (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      greengemini

      root access to your phone.  Though that is much easier with NFC payment (i.e. tap to pay) than it is with just the phone's network stack.

      You have watched Faux News, now lose 2d10 SAN.

      by Throw The Bums Out on Mon Jul 15, 2013 at 05:46:28 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well, yes. But that's a massive risk. (0+ / 0-)

        If a retail outlet like Nordstrom's or Macy's were caught trying to use an NFC or network exploit to get root access to people's phones, there would be a massive uproar... even more than there currently is about government spying, I think.

        "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

        by JamesGG on Mon Jul 15, 2013 at 07:01:02 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  so since (0+ / 0-)

      I keep wi fi and location off on my phone unless I specifically want to use them, can they still tell I am in the store just because the phone is on?

      •  Who are "they"? (0+ / 0-)

        The store? Probably not. If your phone isn't pinging the local wi-fi networks, the store likely has no way of knowing you're there, unless they have some other software installed on your computer.

        The cell phone company? They can tell where your phone is, at least in terms of what towers you're connecting to, whenever your phone is on the cellular network. That's what enables the phone company to route calls and texts to your phone when someone calls or texts your number.

        "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

        by JamesGG on Mon Jul 15, 2013 at 06:59:06 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  what they "gave away" was my hubby's surprise (6+ / 0-)

    Christmas present for me because his shopping showed up on my dkos...

    We are all pupils in the eyes of God.

    by nuclear winter solstice on Mon Jul 15, 2013 at 04:20:55 AM PDT

  •  That's why it's lots of fun to borrow your (5+ / 0-)

    grandmother's cell phone and wander aimlessly around Abercrombie & Fitch for a couple of hours.

  •  No they are not tracking your contacts and your (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Deep Texan

    calls simply from your phone looking for an open WiFi hotspot. It's not possible.

    Next question/

    "How come when it’s us, it’s an abortion, and when it’s a chicken, it’s an omelette?" - George Carlin

    by yg17 on Mon Jul 15, 2013 at 05:08:27 AM PDT

    •  Actually, it is every bit as possible as getting (0+ / 0-)

      a virus simply by viewing a picture on a website (hint: GDI+).  Though far more likely is grabbing all that data (and installing a backdoor with a rootkit) whenever you use the NFC payment as the NFC system on most smartphones is a wide open door and a properly written NFC tag can do almost anything.

      You have watched Faux News, now lose 2d10 SAN.

      by Throw The Bums Out on Mon Jul 15, 2013 at 05:14:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I don't carry a cell. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    emmasnacker, mslat27, nchristine

    They're having to track me with the anti-shoplifting cameras all over the store ceilings.

  •  not exactly true (0+ / 0-)

    the address they see from your cell isn't linked to your online profile or your real name for them to see.

    it's not useful in the sense you think.

    -You want to change the system, run for office.

    by Deep Texan on Mon Jul 15, 2013 at 06:20:46 AM PDT

  •  you bought the smart phone (0+ / 0-)

    part and parcel of the deal.  It's how they make money.

  •  I remember reading about a store... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    terabytes

    in the Mall of America that’s set up mainly to do research on shopping habits. Yes, they’re selling stuff, but the main purpose is to find out how to sell more stuff. And they sell their research. One thing I remember is that stores should have similar things with three prices instead of just two prices (because if there are only two prices, people will more often buy the cheapest instead of the dearest, but if you have three prices, people will buy the medium priced one). They track purchases by time of day. They try store layouts. They even know that when people walk into a store, they tend to turn to the right instead of to the left.

    Unfortunately I can’t find anything about it on Google. This was several years ago, so that store might not exist any more. But the whole idea that people would do this kind of research made sense.

    "Stupid just can't keep its mouth shut." -- SweetAuntFanny's grandmother.

    by Dbug on Mon Jul 15, 2013 at 10:32:15 AM PDT

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