How to Foil Smart Shopping Carts from Collecting Your Biometric Data

How to avoid the gathering of your biometric data without your permission while you are shopping.

customer with a smart shopping cart

As if you didn’t need another reason to avoid Big Box retailers, plans are in the works to roll out a biometric data-gathering shopping cart with Walmart first in line to implement the privacy-invading technology.

A patent is in process for a “biometric feedback” shopping cart handle that measures heart rate, temperature, speed, and the amount of force a shopper applies to the handle while browsing around a store.

This shocking invasion of personal privacy is “all in the name of safety” of course!

The biometric data for each shopper is collected by a central computer server. If these measurements indicate that a shopper is not happy with their shopping experience, an alert would be sent to a customer service assistant. (1)

The data can also alert staff to a potential thief via stronger than normal squeezing of the shopping cart handle and/or elevated heart rate.

Tracking Shoppers Without Their Knowledge

Think this is far-fetched?

Some shopping centers are already using Bluetooth as a means of tracking customers around stores. The technology includes gaze detection to tell companies what’s grabbing a customer’s attention in a window display or how he/she feels about a product display. (2)

Besides a shocking invasion of privacy without customer consent, these concentrated EMFs can give sensitive shoppers symptoms such as headaches or blurry vision among other issues.

In addition to the “smart” shopping cart, Walmart has already patented technology to eavesdrop on customers. So, taking it a step further to track heart rate, temperature, and handle squeeze (an indication of potential theft) is just a hop, skip, and a jump away.

The video below summarizes how smart carts work, making it look all happy, safe, and wonderful for everyone of course. (3)

How to Foil Smart Shopping Carts

The good news is that there are ways to foil this technology.

The best way, of course, is to avoid shopping at Big Box retailers at all! Try to start now changing your shopping habits, so that when the smart shopping cart rolls out, you are already patronizing other businesses.

I personally only visit Walmart once in a blue moon…perhaps only 3 or so times per year. I hope to reduce this even further to zero if possible!

If you must visit Walmart or other privacy-invading companies or shopping centers on occasion (hopefully it’s rare or never), here are a few tips to avoid data mining without your permission:

  1. Don’t use shopping carts at all. Use a handheld shopping basket provided by the store or a large cloth bag you bring yourself. This has the added benefit of getting you used to bringing your own reusable bags to the store and not relying on plastic or paper.
  2. If you must use a cart, keep a small piece of aluminum foil folded up in your purse or pocket when you shop. An approximate size that works is 24 inches long and 6 inches wide. Use the foil to cover the shopping cart handle where your hands will touch it. Cover the foil with a hand towel to look less conspicuous if you like. The metal layer prevents connectivity between your body and the sensors. In turn, this stops the gathering of your personal biometric data such as heart rate and temperature. The speed of the cart will still be measured, however. The only way to avoid this is to not use a cart.
  3. Wear dark sunglasses to prevent gaze detection technology from targeting you.
  4. Be sure to leave your smartphone in the car or keep it in a privacy bag to prevent location tracking. Turning your phone off or on airplane mode is NOT sufficient to prevent tracking! This is the privacy purse I use.
  5. If you are shopping with someone, converse as little as possible or if you know sign language, use it. This prevents eavesdropping on your personal conversations.
  6. While home delivery is a good option, it is not a solution to avoiding surveillance. Amazon is already rolling out AI cameras on their delivery vehicles in some cities. These cameras scan in all directions and are installed inside the vehicle near the rear-view mirror. The cameras surveil homes under the auspices of “safety” and to help discourage “porch pirates”, but you KNOW it is for data collection too. For example, will people who fly certain flags or have signs supporting “wrongthink” be reported for being “domestic terrorists”? Other companies are likely not far behind. (4)

I find it nothing short of insane that I am even writing about this topic.

Unfortunately, privacy laws are lagging terribly behind technology. Hence, it is critical to stay up to date on what corporations are doing without our permission to invade customer privacy and data-mine our lives.

As mentioned earlier, the best and most effective solution to this outrageous problem is to shop with local small businesses as much as possible!


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