They’re called anonymous video analytics, among other terms, and the cameras that capture them might be discreetly placed in interactive guides at your favourite shopping centre. They capture demographic data like gender, age and even whether you’re happy or sad, before deleting the image. But should they have to tell you about it? Which malls in Canada use them? Would we even know about this if it wasn’t for a software glitch at a mall display in Alberta?

As with so many of our privacy concerns these days, the technology that collects our personal information is advancing much faster than any regulations governing it. There are complaints before privacy commissioners right now, but there are some quirks to this tech that make it very hard to crack down on. How much privacy can you expect these days in a public space? If the answer is not much, then what should you expect your data to be used for? And … how do you spot these things next time you’re shopping, anyway?

GUEST: Aaron Hutchins, Maclean’s


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