Yep, loyalty cards are evil. “It sounds good – loyalty cards entitle us to freebies or cash simply for shopping at our local superstore. Of course, retailers get something in return: a heap of information about us we might prefer them not to know. That’s before they get started on the new tags that track you and what you buy.”
Now, I’m the last person to advocate civil disobedience, but given the statements below, I think it could be fun to make the worst face I can imagine, pick up a packet of Mach 3 razors, have your photo taken and put the razors back. Let them figure that one out at the checkout.
“At the Tesco Cambridge store, reports the magazine, a camera trained on the Gillette blade shelf, and triggered by the tags, captures a photo of each customer who removes a Mach3 pack. Another photo is taken at the checkout and security staff compare the two images to ensure they always have a pair.
A spokesman for Tesco confirmed that this set-up is in operation. He says: “Generally in retailing, razorblades are stolen more than other products, but that is not why we are doing the trial. We have plenty of security measures in place to stop things being stolen. [This trial] is not to do with security or theft, it is a supply chain trial.” According to the spokesman,”there are certainly not any privacy concerns” in relation to these tags. He adds that there is plenty of in-store signage indicating the supermarket’s use of CCTV cameras.
Still, customers might not infer from this information that these cameras are being used to take a digital photo of them each time they lift a Gillette razorblade from the store’s shelf – it only takes one to prompt the camera – and again when they present the pack at the checkout. Tesco says that the photos are “temporarily stored”, but does not specify for how long. However, Smart Labels Analyst magazine explains that this system enables the store to “blacklist certain shoppers and keep an eye on them”.” Guardian
Business Week have a story on the tagged products that could be used to track your identity and location, Playing Tag with Shoppers: “New product-inventory tracking technologies have privacy advocates up in arms. Smart companies will pay close attention to their concerns”
It seems that the onus on privacy has shifted from privacy being an automatic right to the individual needing to defend their right to privacy against claims of ‘if you’re not doing anything wrong, why are you so afraid?’.