TikToker Claims New Walmart Security Cameras Track Customers' Every Move, Sparking Debate

Mustafa Gatollari - Author
By

Feb. 15 2023, Published 12:06 p.m. ET

Walmart Getty
Source: Getty

There's been a lot of talk surrounding the advanced anti-theft measures employed at various Walmart locations across the country. The company purportedly loses out on $3 billion a year in sales by certain estimations, which is a drop in a bucket compared to how much product it moves.

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Still, this is a massive figure, and it's understandable that the company would want to invest even a fraction of that into methods that will help the retailer shrink that figure.

In fact, there are folks online who say that the cameras in the self check-out lane snap photos of people ringing up their own purchases.

In the same viral TikTok, the same person said that the chain will also store a customer's credit card information and then pair their photo with that card info, effectively keeping a record of everyone in the store's database. It's not difficult to imagine that profiles are then generated for shoppers, i.e. if someone is suspected of stealing, Walmart can then "flag" certain recurring customers.

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And now a TikTok posted by a user named Aubrey (@tht.slowsubi) is only generating more discussions about how seriously Walmart is taking loss prevention in its stores.

Source: TikTok | @tht.slowsubi
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Aubrey posted video footage of Walmart's security cameras "tracking" customers at the self-checkout lanes in tech that looks like something out of the film Minority Report. Walmart has reportedly confirmed that it uses A.I. detection in its cameras to detect customers who may try to leave the store without scanning items.

walmart security cameras customer tracking
Source: TikTok | @tht.slowsubi
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In the video, yellow highlights, or "blobs" follow self-checkout shoppers around. People are being identified and tracked on cameras and it looks like their movements are being closely analyzed by the security technology.

walmart security cameras customer tracking
Source: TikTok | @tht.slowsubi
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Aubrey writes in a text overlay of the TikTok: "Y'all better watch out Walmart isn't playin anymore"

TikTokers in the comments section speculated that these yellow blobs are a part of the store's tech to "scan" people's identities.

walmart security cameras customer tracking
Source: TikTok | @tht.slowsubi
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Local Tucson news outlet KGUN9 reported that "Walmart self-checkout shoppers" are being "cited and sent to court for mistakes." The "mistakes" in question are for people who the chain says accidentally forgot to scan items at the self-checkout counter.

walmart security cameras customer tracking
Source: TikTok | @tht.slowsubi
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Many are saying that this is a code word used for theft, something that the franchise is probably looking to avoid outright saying as a customer who was wrongfully accused of, and charged with shoplifting ended up winning $2.1 million from the chain after it was proven she didn't steal.

walmart security cameras customer tracking
Source: TikTok | @tht.slowsubi
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TikTokers who saw Aubrey's post joked that they couldn't understand why Walmart would dump all of this money into technology instead of just hiring more cashiers and store associates to be on the floor.

walmart security cameras customer tracking
Source: TikTok | @tht.slowsubi
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Others remarked that as a direct result of these measures they would start shopping in the store wearing a face mask and sunglasses in a bid to avoid facial recognition technology.

walmart security cameras customer tracking
Source: TikTok | @tht.slowsubi
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Then there were those who couldn't believe that the chain would go to these great lengths to curtail possible theft, but that the store will won't accept mobile payments like Google Pay or Apple Pay.

Then some said that if Walmart doesn't trust its customers to use self-checkout, then why give them the option in the first place?

walmart security cameras customer tracking
Source: TikTok | @tht.slowsubi

What do you think? Do you believe that Walmart's "doing too much" when it comes to the self-checkout lanes? Or do you believe that it's only natural for the store to do so because a purported $3 billion a year is on the line?

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