Poll: Is it Okay for Retailers to Track Customers’ Shopping Behavior While in Stores?

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If you’ve done any shopping online, you probably know the feeling: You pick out, say, a pair of shoes online, put them in your virtual shopping cart, but then for some reason change your mind. Afterwards, it seems that every site you visit features an ad for that very pair of shoes. The reason? Online retailers can give you a virtual identification number and track you as you go from site to site, targeting you with ads for products they already know you want.

Here’s the new twist: Feeling the pinch of online competition, many brick-and-mortar retailers are hoping to emulate these tactics. What’s more, technology already exists that can identify customers in a store — through their smart phones, and even through video cameras that use facial recognition software — and track their shopping behavior. Not surprisingly, these developing technologies have raised privacy concerns — even as industry experts insist that they can and will be used responsibly.

Please tell us how you view this practice by participating in the following (thoroughly unscientific) poll. Your answers will inform the conversation during a live “Google Hangout” on the subject next week — and will also help us shape TIME’s coverage on the future of retail.

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