Technological advancements–part algorithm, part innovation, and part
heuristic–have made possible the reality that stores know more about
what shoppers want than shoppers themselves. In the latest of a series
of episodes that make some of us fret for what semblance of privacy
remains, stores are employing video surveillance and cell phone signals to track and analyze shopping behavior.



Data mining is not unfamiliar territory for brick-and-mortar stores. In fact, it is an art
that has made the retail sector an unparallelled success. Their latest
effort simply infuses a greater technological component.




In
short, for those of you who don’t have time to read the NYT article,
physical stores want the same information that online stores have been
privy to for the last few years. They want the ability to advertise
strategically and tailor the shopping experience to individual shoppers.
I am sure it’s not news to you that cookies (a piece of data sent from a
website–not unlike this one–and stored in your browser) tell
e-commerce sites (and advertisers) more about your preferences than ever
before. More than raw data, comprehensive browsing activity often
paints a complete enough picture from which nearly every facet of life
can be inferred.



In
light of the storm of controversy stirred by the Snowden incident, many
Americans feel increasingly exposed and probed. The right to privacy is
one afforded, albeit implicitly, by the Constitution–the first, third,
fourth, fifth, ninth, and fourteenth amendments all speak to some
degree to the inalienability of this right–but some recent infractions
have shone new light on how technological advancements have eroded
rights that previously required little-to-no protection (ok, to be fair,
these very advancements created the arenas in which current contentions
spring).



One
way to counteract this new measure is to remove the battery from your
phone when you go shopping (turning off your phone is not enough). And
pay with cash. But in the grand scheme of things, don’t you almost feel
silly taking these steps considering how often we relinquish this right?
Have anonymity and privacy really become antiquated concepts in the digital age?

Ann Taylor Drape Neck Button Front Blouse
(previously worn here + here) | Zara Maxi Pearl Necklace (similar here + here) | Kate Spade
Jolie Silk Skirt | Forever 21 Faux Leather Bow Belt (similar here) | Kate Spade Primrose Hill Little Kaelin Bag (also here and here) | Zara Basic Court Shoes

I am still reeling from the loss of a dozen or so sets of photos last month which is why those reviews I promised have not materialized. For someone with as short an attention span as me, it’s hard to buckle down and “redo” but I am slowly pushing myself in the right direction.


I apologize in advance for any rant-y posts that transpire in the interim.