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Today’s Grocery Stores Pose a Threat to Your Privacy

In recent years, due to recent rapid technological advancements, many different aspects of society have changed dramatically. These changes now extend to retailers and, more specifically, grocery stores. In-store tracking platforms enable stores to study the behavior of shoppers. Further, people shop for home goods and purchase groceries online without any form of human interaction.


Some examples of these grocery stores include self-checkouts, Amazon grocery stores, and other models without human employees. These are some of the latest shopping models that have emerged, and although they are quite efficient and user-intuitive, they raise immense consumer privacy concerns.


The first issue regarding the customer’s privacy is the collection of customers’ data. Amazon grocery stores, for example, use advanced technologies to monitor, detect, and track customers’ movements as they shop throughout the store. These sensors collect a significant amount of data, such as the shopping behaviors of the customers that shop there, such as what products they purchase, how they walk through the store, and what they spend there. This data is later analyzed to create a more tailored and personalized experience for the customers that shop there. However, customer data collected and processed without full customer consent or awareness raises serious privacy concerns. Further, automated grocery stores are particularly vulnerable to cyber-attacks which can lead the data of customers to be stolen, including their personal information, shopping history, payment information, and possibly biometric data.


In addition to online grocery stores tracking online mouse clicks, many real-time grocery stores adopted in-store tracking platforms that collect shopper behavior analytics. This in-store tracking technology includes face analysis software, geo-location tracking software, in-store voice capturing software, and high-tech sensors with facial recognition. Facial recognition technologies are still relatively new and cause concerns, as there is potential for this type of technology to be used for surveillance purposes.


In order to justify the collection of data, many grocery stores claim that they want to learn more about customers’ wants and needs to personalize the in-store shopping experience according to consumer preferences. However, many grocery stores lack transparency about the quantity and type of data they collect from shoppers, so consumers who are not tech-savvy are often unaware of their privacy being violated and cannot consent to their personal data collection.Why do grocery stores need to know so much personal data of their customers? Is it possible that grocery stores and other retailers are selling our personal data?


Another privacy issue relevant while grocery shopping is how customers pay for their groceries. Many people pay for their products with mobile payments or via a digital wallet. Since their financial data is stored online on the cloud, these customers are susceptible to hackers who can access personal financial data such as bank account or credit card information.


What steps can customers take to protect their data and gain more privacy in these public environments? Customers can read the privacy policies of such grocery stores to gain a better understanding of how their data will be collected, used, and shared. Customers also should use secure payment methods to mitigate the possibility of hackers breaching their finances, specifically if they use a digital wallet. Lastly, customers should be mindful of their environment, and refrain from any actions that could compromise their privacy, such as using their phone to browse the internet, take photos, or look at confidential information.


            At Aviv Lazar&Co, we have experience with the risks associated with data privacy in a digital world and offer legal services to individuals whose privacy laws are violated by public corporations such as grocery stores. We are eager to assist you with all your legal matters and supply you with the best-in-market innovative legal solutions and business consultancy services.

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