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Retail Surveillance / Retail Countersurveillance

Adam Harvey

Retail surveillance technologies are often overshadowed by more threatening government surveillance technologies, but retail surveillance presents a different kind of threat. It forms the foundation for bottom-up surveillance of personal data that would otherwise be too difficult for a government surveillance program to collect. Data including your most personal photos, messages, and movements are routinely collected and sold by commercial services. Retail surveillance also poses risks for data breaches and leaks and enables new forms of psychological and behavioral monitoring that aim to influence and control the behaviors of "consumers". The biggest concern today, said Phil Zimmerman (2015), is not software backdoors, but the petabytes of information being hoarded by the likes of Google and Facebook. Silent Circle co-founder Mike Janke has also voiced concern over this type of surveillance and data collection warning that "the data companies of the world have more data on you than GCHQ does, absolutely." This talk will survey current and emerging trends and technologies used in retail surveillance with the goal of enabling others to create a more informed retail-surveillance threat model, countersurveillance workarounds, and knowledge for protest/democratic participation.

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