Walmart under fire for this ‘invasion of privacy’ – Best Life

No matter where you live in the US, there’s likely a Walmart location near you. The megaretailer is a source for everything including groceries, home goods, electronics, clothing and more for millions of Americans. But the unique relationship customers have with the company is not without rough edges, no matter how much some rely on the stores. And now Walmart is coming under fire from shoppers for what they call “privacy invasion.” Read on to see what new service is irking some loyal customers right now.

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Walmart shopping cart
Harun Ozmen / Shutterstock

Thanks to its low prices and special perks for regular shoppers, Walmart has managed to warm to millions of customers. But while the company is regularly praised for many of its moves, there are some recent examples where consumers have called out the retailer about its policies and changes.

In June, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced that it was suing Walmart for money transfer fraud, alleging that the company “turned a blind eye” to scammers using the store’s money transfer services. Law enforcement investigations into the matter had revealed that criminals regularly transferred funds stolen through various schemes using the system while the company was aware of the problem but failed to warn customers. The lawsuit asked the court to order Walmart to return money to consumers and impose “civil penalties for Walmart’s violations” for the alleged $197 million in payments sent and received through the service between 2013 and 2018 became. The retailer pushed back, calling the lawsuit “factually misguided and legally flawed,” claiming that it actually saved customers around $6 billion in fees “by bringing important competition to the money transfer industry.”

On September 1, another lawsuit was filed against the company in a US District Court for the Southern District of Illinois. In this case plaintiff Jacob Luther claimed that Walmart collected, stored and used customers’ biometric data without their consent through their cameras and advanced video surveillance systems used in stores. Such action would violate the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) of 2008, which requires “businesses, including employers, that collect biometric data to follow a set of protocols,” per The National Law Review.

And now the retailer finds itself in hot water with customers again.

Walmart app

Walmart is no stranger to offering technological advances to its customers to enhance the shopping experience. In June, the store updated its app, which allows shoppers to use augmented reality (AR) to see what a piece of furniture will look like in their home. On September 15, the store took this feature even further with the launch of its “Be Your Own Model” experience, which “brings the in-store fitting room experience to online shoppers” by allowing them “to better represent their own photo use”. visualize how the clothes will look on them.”

But while the new feature could make it easier for customers to spruce up their wardrobes, some have struggled with the technology. In particular, some buyers have expressed concerns that the app requires users to take a photo of themselves in underwear or tight-fitting clothing in order for it to work properly. The US sun reports.

“I think that’s when they should have realized that this isn’t a good feature,” one Reddit user wrote in a thread discussing the update. “Basically, it’s bad because you can’t get it to work without invading privacy.”

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a hacker doxing someone online

Discussion of the new technology prompted a heated debate among users of the technology subreddit about the potential impact.

“What happens if Walmart’s servers get hacked and this data leaks?” one user asked.

Others pointed to another potentially thorny issue with the technology. “How do they prevent children from using this feature? Especially when the photos are saved. That just seems like a bad idea to me,” one user asked. Another called it a “dystopian body mapping nightmare” that could result in the company showing you ads for “cures, weight loss pills, etc.” Oops.”

Still, some users pushed back, citing how useful — and ultimately harmless — the added feature seemed to be. “Are people really surprised? As the [expletive] Otherwise, would they show you how form-fitting clothing looks on you without making it appear like your head is resting on a Sims figurine?” argued one user (People Wear in Public) don’t use it.”

Others pointed out that similar services are already available elsewhere. “Amazon shopping does that. It’s great,” replied one user. “I don’t understand how you expect it to work without a picture of you. I found it amazing and pretty [expletive] I agree. Saved me a lot of unnecessary returns.”

Walmart store
bgwalker / iStock

As the online debate about the new feature continues, Walmart issued a response addressing some of the initial concerns.

“The technology that powers the Be Your Own Model experience works best when customers wear close-fitting clothing during the photo shoot,” a company spokesman said The US sun. “Customers can take photos of themselves wearing a tank top, workout clothes like shorts, knee length leggings, or tan long leggings.”

“Walmart takes the privacy of its customers very seriously. The app camera does not cache images or metadata. ‘ the spokesman assured.

The company also stated that it has gone to great lengths to protect its customers’ personal information. “The mission of our information security team is to protect critical data through advanced innovation and technology to secure our environment. We are focused on protecting our information and digital infrastructure through compliance with third-party standards, incident reporting policies and escalation practices, vulnerability testing and continuous improvement,” they said The US sun. “Be Your Own Model has also undergone rigorous administrative and technical control checks to ensure compliance with data protection laws and regulations.”

Other users pointed out that those who buy clothes from Walmart online also have the option to use the store’s previously released “Choose My Model” feature. Instead of a photo, customers can choose one of 50 models that come closest to their body shape in height and clothing size. Walmart under fire for this ‘invasion of privacy’ – Best Life

Sarah Y. Kim

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