Retailers Spying on Shoppers Creating Controversy Over Privacy - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Retailers Spying on Shoppers Creates Controversy Over Privacy

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More and more retailers are tracking your shopping habits and not just on the internet.

They're using cutting edge technology, with the goal of getting you to spend more in stores.

When department store chain, Nordstrom, told shoppers what they were up to many were outraged by the invasion of privacy.

Retailers are turning to technology, by using video surveillance. They track signals from your smart phone to figure out how to get you to spend more.

"The in-store analytics makes it possible for retailers to understand things like where they go, where they stop and ultimately how all of that translates to sales at the register," said Tom Callan, chief marketing officer of RetailNext, a company, which provides the technology.

Nordstrom recently ended a test program gathering pings from wifi signals on customer's smartphones as they browsed through the store.

Some were outraged after learning about the in-store surveillance.

"Way over the line," one consumer wrote on Facebook.

The stores using the surveillance, have the cameras set up in the ceiling near the entrance.

As people enter, the software pinpoints them and follows them throughout the store.

Callan said the software is so specific, it can tell exactly where inside the store a person is standing and even which direction their head is looking.

"They know there is a person and they know what that person is doing, but they can't really marry it back to your personal identity."

Callan said their technology is in more than 5,000 stores worldwide.

Nordstrom said they were testing the program and ended it in May.

They say they didn't store any of the data, nor did they have any way of identifying individuals.

Written by Pamela Brown, CNN

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