Thanks E.T. for this link- article written for the New York Times (oped) by CASS R. SUNSTEIN AUG. 20, 2014.
"What do Americans actually think about predictive shopping? To find out, I produced a nationally representative survey, conducted with about 500 respondents, with a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.
I discovered, to my surprise, that a significant percentage of Americans already welcome predictive shopping.
The situation was presented like this: Suppose that over the years, your favorite online bookseller has compiled a great deal of information about your preferences. On the basis of a new algorithm, it thinks it knows what you will want to buy before you do. I asked, would you enroll in a program in which the seller sent you books that it knew you would purchase, and billed your credit card? (Anyone could send the book back for a refund or just opt out of the program.) Fifty-nine percent said no, but 41 percent said yes.
Second, I explored whether people would react differently if sellers signed people up without their consent. I asked, would you approve or disapprove if the seller automatically, and without your explicit consent, enrolled you in a program in which it sent you books that it knew you would purchase, and billed your credit card?
Twenty-nine percent said they would approve, and 71 percent said they would disapprove. People do care about explicit consent. Nonetheless, it is noteworthy that nearly a third of Americans would approve of such a program.
Books are, of course, an unusual commodity. We might like the idea of stumbling onto new topics and ideas. Whenever shopping itself is fun, whenever serendipity and surprise are valuable, we might want to choose on our own, hence reject predictive shopping. "
Read more here
The latest IEEE T&S Magazine I edit is now out. I am extremely proud of this special section on Wireless Sensors.
I had the great fortune to work with Dr Katherine Albrecht of StartPage on the issue. Katherine has also been named the Magazine's newest Associate Editor bringing to the Magazine a strong track record in consumer representation on technology matters, privacy, security and human rights.
This issue has contributions from Harvard, Stanford, Cambridge, Sydney, ESADE, Kent, Reading universities and perspectives from industry including Siemens, Accenture, Illuminating Concepts. This issue includes international voices from Germany, Spain, UK, US, Australia, Canada, and Japan.
I hope you will enjoy the diversity of opinion in this issue- a great deal of debate on where society and sensors is headed... will definitely stop and make you think.
What starts off as a bargain... takes about 4 weeks to turn yukky.
I've washed both pairs of my new Kathmandu slacks on several occasions now. I've loved wearing them, they're comfortable, and good quality... But it's taken me till now to figure out what that stiff 'cardboard' feeling thing was in the bottom side of my pocket. I first thought it was the Kathmandu label but as I put up my washing this afternoon and compared my black and gray slacks as I pegged them onto the line, I soon realised that 'it' wasn't in the pocket, nor was it a label- but something else in that extra sew-on attachment.
What gave it away?
The black pants had a black extra sew-on attachment, while the gray pants had a white sew-on attachment and as the sun beamed I turned the clothes inside out. The light of the sun revealed something else through the white fabric! And in the end had it not been for that, I would have been completely oblivious to the embedded tag.
Click through to see the discovery as it happened...
I have to say it is the first time that I've come across an item I've bought whose manufacturer has gone to such extraordinary lengths to embed a tag into the clothing. At first I thought, yeah, a lot of thieves would frequent Kathmandu for the quality clothing, and then when I came to my senses I realised this was not about theft or loss prevention but about consumer tracking!
Having recently re-opened Katherine Albrecht's and Liz McIntyre's Spychips bestseller, I soon put one and one together (see e.g. the Benetton and Gillette campaign)... this tag would potentially be used to understand repeat clientele back into Kathmandu retail stores!
I shook my head stunned, thinking this was not right... I went to fetch my camera and scissors to cut open the sew-on attachment... and there, to my amazement, was the tag in full view. If that was not enough, the tag was stuck onto the fabric. I was reminded of a short 2 minute clip I had shown my students in IACT905 IT & Innovation @ UOW of Will Smith in the famous scene of Enemy of the State... tags in shoes, watches, pants, smart phone, you name it!
What have we become?! Tracking spychips... in slacks... chips in slacks...! How utterly abhorrent! I thought about my kids wearing Kathmandu as well- those tags must go! Check your clothes and cut the attachments off!
The last gallery image depicts me quite disturbed at this discovery... I added my face to my pants symbolically, using my new Samsung Galaxy 4 Android device! There are several reasons for this- but for the greater part, the tag in my slacks is linked to me forever because my name is now linked to those pants, as is my face, and my transaction history.
I wonder how soon all of this will sync up with the "anonymous" tracking of consumers at shopping malls! It seems only a matter of time that there will be a truly integrated effort to bring together CCTV, smartphones and RFID chips!
"David Vaile, the vice-chairman of the Australian Privacy Foundation, a collective of academics and legal experts, said consent sought by companies with loyalty cards was a "sham". "Does the customer actually know what is going on? Probably not," Mr Vaile said.
"The whole point of big data for this purpose is not statistics, it's not aggregated, it's [for] tagging to an individual. The name [of the individual] is sort of irrelevant. If they can get other means of identifying you, knowing it is you, they want to get inside your head to know what you are susceptible to, who you would trust."
J Am Med Inform Assoc 2007;14:249-250 doi:10.1197/jamia.M2316 by Katherine Albrecht.
"The statement is wrong on several counts.
First, neither I nor my co-author, Liz McIntyre, head up or have formed any “religious group.” I am the director of CASPIAN (Consumers Against Supermarket Privacy Invasion and Numbering), a 12,000 member consumer privacy organization which I founded in 1999. CASPIAN has worked on secular RFID privacy issues since 2002 and is not a religious organization. Our website clearly states that “CASPIAN is a secular (non-religious) organization which welcomes members from all faiths and backgrounds,” and that “CASPIAN members span a wide range of political, philosophical, and social viewpoints.”1
Second, neither I nor my co-author call the VeriChip RFID implant the biblical mark of the beast. Indeed, in the introduction to The Spychips Threat, we state that “we do not believe the current incarnation of RFID is the mark of the beast as prophesied by John in Revelation 13.” And on p. 184 we state, “There are many ways in which current versions of RFID devices like the VeriChip implant do not match the description of the mark of the beast in Revelation.”
What we do say in The Spychips Threat is more complex. We observe that modern database and communications technologies, coupled with point of sale data-capture equipment and sophisticated ID and authentication systems, now make it possible to require a biometrically associated number or mark to make purchases.† The ability to implement such a system, which even skeptical observers acknowledge closely resembles the “mark of the beast” prophecy puzzled over by Christian scholars for two millennia, is historically unprecedented. This development has particular significance to Christians, who have been mandated by their faith not to participate in such payment systems.2 However, one needn’t be a Christian to find this noteworthy. From an academic and historical perspective alone, this development would be fascinating and well worth pointing out.
In a final faux pas, the authors have misstated the title of our book as “The Spychips Threat: Why Christians Should Resist RFID and Computer Tracking,” when its actual title is “The Spychips Threat: Why Christians Should Resist RFID and Electronic Surveillance.” Interestingly, this same error has appeared in several pro-RFID industry articles attacking our work. One wonders if the authors actually read our book, or relied on the commentary of others to draw their conclusions.
Errors and theological issues aside, it is crucial to point out that individuals of all faiths—whether Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish, B’hai, or atheist—have an inherent right to privacy, irrespective of their religious practices and beliefs. People across all walks of life have a reason to be concerned about Verichip implants and other RFID technologies that pose serious dangers to their privacy and civil liberties."
ABC Reporter Jake Sturmer writes:
"We've grown accustomed to cameras watching our every move. Shops around the country are now secretly tracking mobile phone movements to analyse retail patterns. The developers say it just levels the playing field with online stores but some privacy experts warn it could be illegal."
"Customers in a Perth shopping centre are being tracked secretly via their mobile phone wireless signals as part of a trial aimed at bringing consumers back to "bricks and mortar" shopping in the face of online competition.
Insights, a program developed by inhouse group, a small digital media company founded in Mandurah, has been in place in an unnamed shopping centre for the past six months.
Sensors hidden in the ceiling are tracking the movements of up to 70,000 customers a week and recording data, including how many people visit, which shoppers return and which departments they frequent.
The data is used by the centre to adjust its promotions and displays."
"The goal is to track the movement of shoppers in order to better understand shopping patterns, thus creating improved marketing campaigns
The tracking of user activity via smartphones is not too uncommon these days. Apple was caught tracking iPhone and iPad user locations via an OS X app, Microsoft was sued for allegedly tracking user locations without consent in WP7, and Google's Android mobile operating system has apps that track and share user info as well.
Now, an Australian shopping center in Queensland will obtain fit receivers that track shopper's locations within two meters by identifying unique mobile phone radio frequency codes.
The shopping center, which remains unknown for now until it makes a public announcement when the system is up and running, will get the fit receivers from a UK company called Path Intelligence. This new tracking operation is called the Footpath system."