As Americans, we must always be on guard against corporations overstepping their boundaries. Walmart, the retail giant, is no exception. While they constantly seek ways to increase their profits, they now seem to be doing so at the expense of our privacy. Their latest data-gathering technique seems to be inspired by George Orwell’s 1984, rather than aimed at benefiting customers.
In a blatant invasion of privacy, Walmart is planning to introduce smart shopping carts that track our every move within the store. These carts will be equipped with sensors that monitor our walking speed and even our body temperature. Is this truly a necessary measure to improve our shopping experience, or is it just another way for Walmart to collect our personal information for their own gain?
Not only will these new shopping carts track our physical movements, but they’ll also monitor our pulse. This may allow Walmart to determine which deals excite us the most. While the carts will include a safety feature to alert store associates if a shopper is in distress, we must question whether the benefits outweigh the potential loss of privacy. Furthermore, the carts will have a weight-triggered push feature, designed to encourage us to fill them with more expensive items.
Walmart’s intentions behind these smart shopping carts are clear: they want to learn everything about us while we shop in their stores. They will gather all this data and analyze it, potentially using it to manipulate our shopping habits in real time. Should we accept this type of surveillance in exchange for the convenience of having a store associate come to our aid if we seem dissatisfied?
Many of us understand that Walmart’s true motive is to collect extensive data about its customers in order to better market products and increase sales. The company has even filed a patent for this invasive smart cart technology.
Walmart doesn’t stop at tracking our physical movements and vital signs. They are also considering using audio recordings to eavesdrop on our conversations while shopping. This would be used at checkout to monitor interactions between cashiers and customers. Walmart’s patent application, titled “Listening to the Frontend,” highlights their intentions: “A need exists for ways to capture the sounds resulting from people in the shopping facility and determine the performance of employees based on those sounds.”
In their patent, Walmart claims that they are “always thinking about new concepts and ways that will help us further enhance how we serve customers.” However, we must question whether this invasive technology truly benefits the customer or if it simply serves Walmart’s interests.
WATCH the video below for more details:
We must decide whether to continue shopping at Walmart if they persist in monitoring our conversations and tracking our every move. Is this type of technology a violation of our privacy, or is it just “good business”? It is our responsibility to stand up against potential privacy intrusions and demand that our rights as customers be respected.