Walmart Patents Tech That Could Monitor You As You Check Out


You might want to be careful what you say when you're shopping at Walmart in the future: It might be recorded.

The retail giant was awarded a patent on July 10 for a listening system that would be put in place in Walmart stores.

The system is designed to capture sounds, such as scanner beeps and rustling bags to determine how many items are being purchased and how long transactions at the check-out take. The technology is also able to listen to shoppers' conversations as they wait in line.

Why all of this surreptitious listening? Walmart hopes the audio will provide data that will help the company better monitor employee performance and ensure they are interacting with shoppers according to directions.

"The system can process audio data received from the sound sensors, correlate the audio data with an employee that is stationed at the terminal and determine a performance metric for the employee based on the audio data," the patent states.

Walmart said in a statement that although the patent for the technology was filed and awarded, it isn't a guarantee the company will implement it, CNET reports.

For those concerned about privacy, however, even the idea of this technology is alarming. It is part of a growing trend of user surveillance conducted by companies, from smart TVs that keep an eye on your channel surfing to Facebook and Gmail handing over troves of user data over to other companies.