The Privacy Risk of Cashierless Stores

Tracking customer movements could give potential hackers access to more data.

January 31, 2020

SEATTLE—Retailers and consumers are beginning to embrace cashier-free stores, such as Amazon Go and Walmart’s Neighborhood Market, but concerns about privacy issues have been coming to the forefront, Street Fight reports.

“As cashierless stores take off, more and more personal and payment data will be transmitted through phones and mobiles devices and stored in cloud-based software platforms,” said Ruston Miles, chief strategy officer at Bluefin. “This means that hackers will have more network access to this data through vulnerable providers and merchants.”

Cashierless stores use cameras and sensors to track shopper movement in order to charge a connected credit or debit card for items purchased. Cameras and microphones throughout the stores also provide the retailer with additional information. Miles cautioned that merchants of cashierless stores need to be sure that the underlying technologies include safeguards to keep all customer data safe.

“In order to protect this ever-growing attack surface, merchants and providers should look to extend beyond transmission-level encryption to data-level encryption through technologies like certified P2PE,” Miles says. “And when providers find it necessary to store this data, tokenization should be used.”