Brick and mortar stores, frustrated at having lost market share to online retailers Amazon, Facebook and Google, are looking for competitive advantage, and some are installing cameras programmed with Artificial Intelligence facial-recognition-type software that in an instant can determine the age, gender and possible purchasing preferences of a shopper walking in the door.
It will allow them to market products with individual specificity targeting only that shopper.
Tech security expert Robert Siciliano sees it as one more intrusion into consumer privacy. “Without a doubt this could be seen by many as a violation of their privacy,” he suggests to KTRH News.
From the first keystroke online retailers are able to access a trove a personal data about each consumer that physical retailers envy. They can access social media and identify in nanoseconds that a consumer sports a well-trimmed beard, suggesting that facial hair products may have found a mark. Stores would like to do that, too.
“It’s really important that we keep tabs on what is happening,” advises Siciliano, “and that we take control over our own information. Limit the amount of data that you post, use a virtual private network to mask your IP address,” he says ticking off a list of suggestions consumers can employ to protect their identity and privacy.
And when you run to the corner store next time, Siciliano, nearly tongue in cheek, says you might want to wear sunglasses.