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    InformationWeek: Privacy Fears Hit Retailers’ Big Data Analytics Plans

    InformationWeek reports on a new survey from from consulting firm Stratecast, Frost & Sullivan that discusses consumers’ beliefs on privacy:

    Privacy will “almost certainly” be the leading big data issue this year as consumer advocates focus on controversial spying activities of the US National Security Agency (NSA), according to a new 2014 predictions report from global consulting firm Stratecast | Frost & Sullivan.

    If this prediction holds true, it’s unclear how it might impact big data efforts in the retail industry, particularly a new class of in-store analytics systems that use WiFi-enabled devices — typically smartphones — to gather information on customers’ shopping and purchasing habits. […]

    It’s not a stretch to suggest that consumers may react negatively to stealthy monitoring apps, despite the fact that their movements are closely tracked by online retailers as well. As public awareness of in-store analytics grows, a consumer backlash isn’t out of the question.

    “I talk with people who I didn’t think thought about this much, and they say, ‘Oh yeah, I turn my WiFi off when I go shopping,'” said Stratecast | Frost & Sullivan analyst Jeff Cotrupe in a phone interview with InformationWeek. […]

    Privacy-wise, there are at least three levels of mobile analytics in the physical retail space. Some systems require a customer opt-in, others don’t.

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