Video: How to stay private while shopping in real life

Tips & tricksVideo
1 min

Shoppers have begun to expect that their online shopping habits are being tracked or monitored. But what about at physical stores? 

Turns out, technology hidden in physical shops collects customer data by snooping on sensors in their smartphones.

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While shopping for the best Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals this holiday season, keep in mind some of the ways you could be tracked inside a shop or in a mall:

Bluetooth beacons

Bluetooth beacons are Internet of Things devices that communicate with smartphones to pinpoint your movements. 

Sensitive information can be collected about your shopping habits, including your proximity to products, your location, and who you’re shopping with. Bluetooth beacons have been found inside airports, malls, subways, sporting arenas, music festivals, cinemas, and more.

So how do you avoid Bluetooth beacons? 

  1. Be careful to only pair your smart devices with others you trust.
  2. Disable your Bluetooth unless it is absolutely necessary, and be careful before you give an app Bluetooth permissions.
  3. Download an app that allows you to scan for beacons. We’d recommend Beacon Scanner for Android and BLE Scanner for iOS.

Facial recognition 

Security cameras are becoming smarter and are able to create databases with millions of faces. Your face can be used to reconstruct your movements over an entire day.

The simplest protection? A physical barrier like a mask, hat, heavy makeup, or facial jewelry. 

Read more: 5 fashion items every privacy-conscious person needs

Ultrasonic tracking 

This refers to the use of audio waves that can’t be heard by most humans but can be picked up by smartphones. Ultrasonic tones help send information to servers that track your activity and movements.

Be careful when you give microphone permissions to an app, not only to stop ultrasonic tracking but also to make sure your conversations aren’t recorded and mined for keywords.

Read more: 9 tips for safer online shopping

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