UK online security watchdogs have warned that shops can track you via your smartphone, using technology already a few years old. Apparently, retailers can track every move of a shopper, just by using a signal given off when using wifi on a smartphone. Combined with facial recognition software, retailers can track movement, identifying who visits the store and when, or how many times, in order to spot shopping trends and habits.
According to Information Commissioners Office, this practice allows retailers to paint a picture of the customer’s journey, how they use the store and how long they spend shopping. It is an invaluable tool in an age of dwindling high street shops that give way to online stores. By monitoring and adapting to modern shopper’s habits, companies can start to tailor the shopping experience to maximum efficiency. This would allow scenarios such as a price drop after noticing a customer returns to the shop and looks at a certain piece of clothing for a second time.
This technology is similar to how Bluetooth enabled devices are tracked, and a location is presented to anyone nearby. But the difference with Wifi is that almost every phone has it enabled all the time, even when the Wifi function is disabled. So even with retailers being able to monitor shoppers relatively harmlessly, other uses might not be so innocent. The potential for abusing this technology is unfortunately high, with untold uses that this system could be exploited. If people’s movements are tracked, then it is entirely possible for criminals to use the technology in various ways, with the breach of privacy and security a major issue at present.
If you are concerned with online privacy, then there are ways to protect yourself. Whenever you use the internet, you are automatically sending information across the web, whether its your email account login and password, Facebook messages, or even just Google searches, everything is recorded online. With such a high potential for stolen data, it is of utmost importance to protect it. By using a VPN service, you will be masking your online presence, allowing you to browse anonymously, wherever you are. Whether its from your laptop, tablet or smartphone, you can use Le VPN to securely connect to the internet.
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