Customer Tracking in Shops and Supermarkets

Just read and signed the partition on how retailers are tracking customers in real time.

What I’d like to know is how to avoid this, short of either leaving my phone at home, turning off wifi and bluetooth or paying cash for all purchases.

Is there any tech, apps or whatever that can prevent these beacons, RFIDs and so on talking to our phones or even smart watches?


Hi @Marts, welcome to the community.

Do you have a link to the petition and the claims being made?

This will allow members to determine if the grounds for the petition have some basis or are ‘scaremongering/conspiracy’ type claims. It will then allow members to address the claims being made and provide some general advice.


Don’t have WiFi and Bluetooth turned on on any device (turn off, not just in airplane mode as this allows BT and WiFI but stops your mobile signal), if it is on they can ping the signal even if you don’t connect to any free WiFi that is provided. They also use cameras to track people around the stores and use analysis of where and how long people stop at sections, this tracking is enhanced when WiFi/BT on a person’s device is active. If you visit the store in the future after having WiFi and/or BT enabled, then the MAC address of your device will have already been linked to the tracking data from the first visit, and every time you visit (with BT and or WiFi enabled) this data will be further added to. If you then use your store loyalty card at the checkout, this can be used to link a person more directly with the data.

Facial recognition, if it is ever used, adds to the ability to link data to a particular user.

Want some sort of anonymity, then get a friend to do the shopping for you using cash and or their cards. Or wear a hoodie with the hood up and sunglasses, with no smart devices on your person and don’t use a card payment or a loyalty card when making your purchases.


Further to @grahroll post, also don’t install retailer apps and don’t use any loyalty programs. These two are gifts to retailers to collect data on their customers and directly match any potential in store tracking to a customer.


And to add to @phb post: stay away from Supermarkets and any stores that they own. Use the little grocer on the high street and the butcher next door to him. (I’m trying to do this more, not out of paranoia, but to support local business)


The Choice survey revealed

  • 64% of Australians are concerned about businesses collecting data about them
  • 56% are concerned about their data being used to personalise advertising or marketing.

The cynic in me says marketers and retailers may read this differently to most consumers.
Only 56% of consumers are concerned about how personalised data is being used. Are marketing in the retailers board rooms selling they are just 6% off having a majority of consumers on board. Yes there’s a little further to go with attitudes towards data collection. Opportunity beckons the strategic genius of retail window dressing. [cynicism ends]

If the result was 80-90% concerned it’s a clear message consumers are wholly aligned against the trend. I’ve added my voice to the Choice campaign.

Further IMO the more we can raise the concerns as individuals socially, when sitting around a cuppa or coffee etc, the more consumers will come on board. It’s highly likely that over the coming months the marketing gurus and retail political lobby groups will also be trying extra harder. To what outcome? To ensure their vision of the future is firmly cemented in the minds of our political organisations. IE It’s in the best interests of the future of Australia. And if it’s good for Australia it’s also in the best interests of ……?


A timely report. It is not just supermarkets or Colesworths.

I adjusted the topic title accordingly.


That report says Bunnings and Kmart “are sticking to their guns” on using facial recognition. I thought they had both stopped using FR pending an enquiry by privacy authorities. Is that not so?


That is correct. The Office of Australian Information Commissioner investigation is still ongoing. Bunnings and Kmart have suspended (‘paused’) their facial recognition programs waiting the results of the inquiry.

Choice also summarised the issue here:


Also, wear a mask!


Scary. Must turn off my bluetooth when I got to shops.