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Plenty of ‘privacy implications’ when you enter Amazon Go store

As soon as you walk through the turnstile and begin shopping in the Amazon Go store you’re being tracked.

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The checkout counter-free store relies on computer vision, machine learning algorithms and sensors to track what customers are taking off the shelves — or putting back on the shelves — and purchasing.

GeekWire Editor Todd Bishop says there are “privacy implications here, especially as you’re talking about the kind of tracking in the physical world that people have become accustomed to in the online world.”

It’s common knowledge that online behavior changes what kind of ads and other content target an individual.

“To me, the big question here is what happens when that kind of tracking happens in the physical world,” Bishop told Seattle’s Morning News.

Bishop, who took an early tour of the store, says Amazon is confining the data from Amazon Go shoppers to the store, for now.

A tech expert told KIRO 7 that the success of Amazon Go is dependent on how open the public is to the company tracking their behavior.

The Amazon Go store opened to the public in Downtown Seattle at 2131 Seventh Avenue Monday morning. It offers ready-to-eat foods and grocery staples.

Shoppers download the Amazon Go app and scan a QR code to enter the store. They can then take the items they want and leave without having to stop at a counter to pay; their accounts are automatically charged when they leave.

Bishop says the concept is clearly for urban dwellers. However, he could see these stores expanding to the suburbs. The idea of avoiding a checkout line when you’re in a rush doesn’t just appeal to people in the city.

How about the prices? Well, Bishop says they’re about the same as your typical neighborhood grocer.

Listen to the entire conversation here.

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