Smartphones Are Being Used To Track Your Shopping Habits

By Michael Klopfenstein

Credit: WTHR

Smartphones Are Being Used To Track Your Shopping Habits

May 16, 2013 Updated Nov 20, 2013 at 5:42 PM EDT

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (www.incnow.tv) - Some of Americas biggest retail stores may already be spying on you through your smartphone.

Surveillance in a retail store is one thing, but now companies are able to track your every move by tapping into your smartphone. Dr. Sam Liles of Purdue University explains the reasoning behind this to WTHR.

"But there are companies out there that do this cell service and when you walk through the door, it registers your cell number. You don't have to do anything, there is nothing you do, the only way you have, in the way of privacy, is to turn the cell phone off and even that isn't necessarily perfect," Liles said.

Liles says that the primary information on your smartphone wanted by retailers consists of pictures, contacts, Facebook “likes”, and Twitter posts.

"People don't realize the apps that allows us to track you, allows us to track you!" said Liles.

Before Purdue, Lilies worked with stores to track customers using different types of technology. He says that this tracking is meant to help store managers reduce theft and get a better layout of the facility. However, your privacy may still be a concern.

"So tracking people, but there are other types of things - where do people go, how do they do things, what do they stop and look at. How do you identify, how do you deanonymize is a key piece of this," said Liles.

Not only will stores be able to track you, but also figure out what kind of goods you are most likely to buy. For example, after spending time browsing down a certain aisle, the retailer may send you coupons for items located in that aisle.

"I'm talking about a digital representation of you. You have this avatar of your identity. That avatar, I will tell you right now, we will hold you accountable for that," said Liles.

Though many stores do offer an opt-out option, the best way to stay “off the grid” is to just keep your smartphone in your car.

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