(WSJ) Spying on Your Buying

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Merchandisers already track our cyber choices (efficiently, following the clicks on our keyboards) and our in-store decisions (inefficiently, with glum market researchers in every aisle). Now high-tech acuity is going offline. Soon, in-store sensors and motion trackers will watch your footsteps, see what your hands do, know when you hesitate—and when you don't.

The obvious initial response to this is outrage. The right one is delight. This technology, alert to body as well as brain, wants to respond to our behavior, not change it. And it could have amazing applications.

You've heard of Kinect, the Microsoft motion-sensing device that enhanced the Xbox. And you've heard of Google Analytics, the dashboard for website usage statistics. Shopper Tracker—launched recently by the scrappy Argentine start-up Agile Route—is a combination of both. Its spatial recognition software, plus heat sensors and proprietary algorithms, analyze customer movements. It can show which store shelves are most popular, which items are most touched, which taken and then put back.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchPsychologyScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate Life

Posted December 20, 2011 at 3:27 pm

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The URL for this article is http://www.kendallharmon.net/t19/index.php/t19/article/40308/

1. AnglicanFirst wrote:

A reserve West German air force officer told me, about 50 years ago, that the Soviet intelligence services kept a file folder on each commissioned officer in the NATO armed forces, including the U.S. armed forces.

Apparently the Soviets thought that such a massive manpower intensive effort was worthwhile in order to garner shreds of useful information for their policy makers, planners and operatives.

Well, with today’s technology such an effort need not be manpower intensive and an incredible amount of information regarding key personalities in the United States is now becoming available to our enemies and potential adversaries.  And this information can now include very junior but key individuals who do things like ‘doing the administrative house keeping’ for our classified information.

It was such a junior person who enabled ‘Wikkileaks’ and he was not even, to my knowledge, manipulated by a foreign intelligence service.

On the civilian side potential employers, insurance companies, political enemies, personal enemies, confidence artists, etc. can access personal information that can and will be used for criminal, unethical or immoral puposes.

December 21, 3:36 pm | [comment link]

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