Google+ Hangout: Are Retailers Watching Our Every Move?

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For better or for worse, consumers have gotten used to the idea of being tracked online. Retailers and other businesses have many methods at their disposal to see what we’re doing online so that they can market more effectively to us.

Here’s the new twist: feeling the pinch of online competition, many brick-and-mortar retailers are emulating these tactics. Stores are using everything from the wi-fi signals in smart phones to facial-recognition technology to understand how shoppers are interacting with retail outlets. I have written two articles on the subject: one focusing on how stores can make their operations better by using these types of analytics, and another that discusses the privacy concerns these tactics raise. We’ve also polled TIME readers to see how they feel about these practices.

In today’s Google+ Hangout, I’ve invited two experts on the topic — Pam Dixon of the World Privacy Forum and Laura Davis-Taylor of the advertising firm BBDO — to talk about how stores are using these technologies to improve store operations and, at the same time, how consumers can protect their privacy from prying eyes.

To follow the discussion, please check out our Google+ Hangout, which you can see live at 12:30 p.m. ET on this Web page.