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Community Champion

Walmart gets a patent to spy on staff and customers

Really.

 

I mean, honestly, who would have thought, in this day and age, you could still find some way to patent spying on people?

 

(This is quite separate from any consideration about whether you want to a) shop at, or b) work for, Walmart ...)


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3 Replies
Advocate I

Re: Walmart gets a patent to spy on staff and customers

I like the part buried deep in the patent application explaining how the geolocation and timestamp data in the audio recorder files will allow automatic cross-coordination with the EXIF data in JPG photo files on People of Walmart. This will let WalMart see who was involved in each recorded conversation. They will have to wait for conversion of the vertical and horizontal barcode scanners in the self-service checkout registers to include full facial recognition scanning to build their own streamed photo database, obviating the need to rely on People of Walmart

 

Dr. D. Cragin Shelton, CISSP
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Community Champion

Re: Walmart gets a patent to spy on staff and customers

They are also doing something I dislike. They have a thing called "Check out with me" where a Wal-Mart worker with a small hand-held device will scan your stuff and then allow you to put your credit/debit card in the device (and then put in the PIN) and they will send the receipt to your email or phone number. I don't mind doing self check out but this device was a little too portable for me. The kiosks would be hard to steal but this little device could be manipulated in so many ways I didn't feel comfortable using it. There was no option to print a receipt, so by using this Walmart gets either your email address or phone number.

 

A co-worker of mine also got someone else's receipt when they either provided an incorrect phone number on purpose or made a mistake. Can you imagine the headache if you get stopped on the way out the door and get asked for your receipt and you sent it to the wrong phone number? You can't prove your purchase is legitimate right away.

 

On the other hand I can see a benefit of being able to provide a receipt later that didn't fade out (as thermal printed receipts tend to do over time) but other than that it seems like a PII information grab by Walmart.

Newcomer II

Re: Walmart gets a patent to spy on staff and customers

Sounds like a very lucrative intellectual property acheivemet. No need to ever use it by the patent owner. Actually, its probably in their brand-reputation's best interest to license (or sell) it out, to public agencies that can use the technology "legally".

 

I wonder if eventually Amazon store shoppers will experience this sort of technology used on them after "agreeing" to it in an app's user-acceptance policy. 

 

(My reply is delivered much better when you can see my facial expression and hear tone of voice).