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Businesses Privacy

Satellites Spy On Black Friday Shoppers 171

Posted by Soulskill
from the bet-you-can't-see-through-my-roof dept.
MojoKid writes "Those satellites in space don't just take spy pictures. On this Black Friday 2010, they actually took pictures of you, and your rush to Black Friday shopping deals. The research is being done to see what consumer demand this year means for retail stocks. The trend, so far, has been favorable. The companies involved in this are Remote Sensing Metrics and Digital Globe. Remote Sensing Metrics is a Chicago-based consulting firm that analyzes the satellite imagery. In turn, it purchases those images from Colorado-based company Digital Globe, which operates its own satellites."
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Satellites Spy On Black Friday Shoppers

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  • One more reason (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Roland Piquepaille (780675) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @04:49PM (#34359794)

    to stay away from the mindless consumerism that defines today's society.

    My immediate family and I don't buy presents for any of the "holiday seasons". We offer ourselves things of no merchant value, such as poems, good time and love.

    Whenever I go to town, I see people moving from shop to shop like drones, trying hard to figure out what they're going to buy next. We used to be like that, but we aren't anymore. We use money to live (food, basic transportation, reasonable housing) and our hands and heads for entertainment.

  • by ldconfig (1339877) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @04:52PM (#34359808)
    I and us older folks messed up. I am very sorry you may never know what freedom really is. ld
  • by FooAtWFU (699187) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @04:55PM (#34359834) Homepage
    I'm not sure how you have connected "Freedom" with "protection from having your car's top photographed from a satellite while it's sitting in the parking lot of a Target next to thousands of others from which it is generally indistinguishable". Please explain.
  • by jordan314 (1052648) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @05:03PM (#34359890)
    I get a creepy feeling from this too. I've always favored military intelligence over war, and I supported the largest US spy satellite launch last week. But I was hoping our satellite technology wouldn't be flagrantly used to spy on our own citizens, especially for things as mundane as holiday shopping.
  • Re:One more reason (Score:3, Insightful)

    by FooAtWFU (699187) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @05:05PM (#34359900) Homepage
    While I respect a modicum of separation from "mindless consumerism", I'm unconvinced of the premise you advance - and do not see that having your car show up as two to four off-white pixels in a satellite image of the Wal-Mart parking lot is any cause for alarm whatsoever.
  • ours, not likely (Score:3, Insightful)

    by fermion (181285) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @05:06PM (#34359910) Homepage Journal
    On this Black Friday 2010, they actually took pictures of you, and your rush to

    So you are telling me that a group of people renowned for hiding in parent's basement with the technological knowledge to shop online willing went out into the deathtrap that was black friday.

  • Re:One more reason (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Roland Piquepaille (780675) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @05:13PM (#34359962)

    It's not the number of pixels that represents my car, or the danger (or lack thereof) for my liberties, it's the fact that those who want to sell us things treat us like cattle: our consuming habits are under intense scrutiny all of the time, and we are fed a form of brainwashing called "advertising" as a result of the marketing studies. And the worst is, it works: people consume, consume and consume all the time, and start consuming even more when certain dates come (like Black Friday).

    I chose to stop consuming whenever possible, to not be a cattle.

  • Re:One more reason (Score:2, Insightful)

    by davester666 (731373) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @05:26PM (#34360056) Journal

    I hate to think of how much the police department would make by selling the information they gather by driving through mall parking lots, scanning every single license plate looking for stolen cars...

  • by ffreeloader (1105115) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @05:45PM (#34360196) Journal

    You are now so used to being spied on that you can't even comprehend what the world was like without it.

    It was a much friendlier and relaxed place to live. Nobody had the right to sift through your life just to see what they could sell you and the government wasn't into monitoring every move you made and jailing you for the least offense. That was a society that had much more freedom.

    I can remember when getting caught lighting up your tires wasn't an automatic reckless driving ticket and a several hundred dollar fine as well as a large increase in your insurance rates. Cops were much more human and forgiving for they remembered what it was like to be young and dumb and weren't out to disrupt your life for your first mistake. Most of them, as long as you didn't try to lie to them, would let you go with a warning even if they caught you making a pretty serious mistake. I've been let walk after burning rubber for half a city block and reaching close to 80mp in a 25mph zone right in front of sheriff's deputy I didn't see. He asked me what happened and I explained it to him: I was showing for a couple of very good looking young women and that it was a first for me to do that in town as my hotrodding and racing was done out of town. My honesty got me a warning instead of a ticket and some time in jail. Try that today and see what happens to you.

    You had the freedom to make mistakes and learn from them without being severely punished. If you didn't learn, well, that was your problem and you could expect to have the book thrown at you the second time. During high school most of us used to carry pocket knives and a lot of us had guns in the trunks of our cars because we liked to go plinking after school. I remember pranks such as wiring the urinal drain in the faculty men's bathroom to a Model T coil not getting anyone kicked out of school, and intentional small explosions in chemistry class going unpunished. I also knew a guy who blew a foot deep hole in the football field with a home made pipe bomb who got nothing more than a 2 day suspension. He wasn't hauled off to jail and prosecuted for terrorism. In fact the issue never was reported to the police and this was done inside city limits.

    Today's young people don't know what liberty is as we live in a society in which we are watched 24/7 and our liberties are fast disappearing. Not much individual freedom is left even when compared to eras such as the 60's and 70's, let alone the 1800's, but those of you who didn't live in those decades, and aren't students of American history, will never understand what has been lost. It's a paradigm you can't grasp because you've never experienced it.

  • Re:One more reason (Score:3, Insightful)

    by clarkkent09 (1104833) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @05:57PM (#34360274)

    That fits perfectly with the environmentalist goal of de-civilizing the society. I hope your next step is to grow your own food in your backyard, drink rainwater, and light fire with two stones (or a stone and your head if you prefer). What you call 'mindless consumerism' is a sign of a healthy and prosperous society with plenty of goods that most people want and can afford, there is nothing wrong with it.

  • by ffreeloader (1105115) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @06:26PM (#34360502) Journal

    "I've been let walk after burning rubber for half a city block and reaching close to 80mp in a 25mph zone right in front of sheriff's deputy I didn't see. He asked me what happened and I explained it to him: I was showing for a couple of very good looking young women and that it was a first for me to do that in town as my hotrodding and racing was done out of town. My honesty got me a warning instead of a ticket and some time in jail."

    So you're whining that you can't drive wrecklessly down a street and possibly kill people. You're the reason why we can't have nice things.

    Sorry, but that's the dumbest response I've seen in a while. How you managed to take that from my post is beyond me.

    Government wasn't out to punish every infraction. They were out to teach if they thought you were capable of learning. They were human and recognized that they themselves made mistakes. They wouldn't let you get by with making the same mistakes multiple times, but a one-time infraction wasn't enough to always severely punish you.

    Funny how back then it was much easier to get ahead, in spite of how you claim I'm the reason you can't have nice things. Where you drew that logical fallacy from is beyond me. It's some of the worst logic I've ever seen. Funny how you think humanity in a less intrusive government led to a bad economy. The reality is just the opposite. Big brother watching you and wanting to control every aspect of your life is the reason our country is going broke.

  • Re:One more reason (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DarkKnightRadick (268025) <the_spoon.geo@yahoo.com> on Saturday November 27, 2010 @06:26PM (#34360506) Homepage Journal

    Then you've already indoctorinated your kids to the consumerist side of Christmas. There is plenty to be excited about without expensive presents. Teach your kids to enjoy the finer things in life (like each other's company) more than some toy.

    You're right, I'm not a parent, but if I were, I hope my wife and I would be able to celebrate Christmas in some truly meaningful way. (:

  • Re:One more reason (Score:3, Insightful)

    by causality (777677) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @06:29PM (#34360528)

    How so? Are the "good times" the OP enjoys giving poetry and love any more meaningful than the "good times" people have giving material goods?

    If you don't like materialism, don't participate. But there's no need look down on people for enjoying themselves.

    You say that as though materialism and quality time with loved ones are two equally valid positions. They're not.

    Further, "don't participate" is good advice. The hurdle is that materialism is the dominant culture. You have to go against the grain and actively resist numerous influences and pressures and expectations in order to shun the material method of celebrating what were originally historical and religious holidays. This is by design, since sadly most Americans don't have the backbone to do that even if they wanted to. Caving in to a dominant culture not because it's what you deliberately embrace, but because it is difficult to do otherwise, well that's a very strange definition of "enjoying themselves".

    It's a domination of the mind for the purpose of profit, just like all marketing and most facets of culture. A domination, not an offering of an inherently superior choice. If PR and marketing are done masterfully, then those influenced by them can't imagine any other realistic way of doing things.

    Sometime during the last 100 years we made this transition from an economy based on utility and thriftiness and some degree of national self-sufficiency to massive globalism and consumerism based on this kind of madness. The people who fight for places in line at 3am at stores on Black Friday resemble nothing so closely as trained dogs taught to respond to cues. You place this on equal footing with wholesome enjoyment of family, quality time, and love? As I said, it's madness.

  • Re:MOOoooslim? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by DarkKnightRadick (268025) <the_spoon.geo@yahoo.com> on Saturday November 27, 2010 @06:36PM (#34360570) Homepage Journal

    I'd have done the same. Just because someone calls themselves Christian does not mean they actually are.

    Do not think that every Christian buys into the (false) "Name-it-and-Claim-It" gospel. It's a garbage presentation of the True Gospel of Jesus Christ.

  • by farnsworth (558449) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @07:45PM (#34361020)

    So you're whining that you can't drive wrecklessly down a street and possibly kill people. You're the reason why we can't have nice things.

    The reason we can't have nice things is not because people are human and make mistakes and do dumb things. The reason we can't have nice things is because recently the US has turned into a police state and a nanny state. Kids aren't allowed to walk to the park, zero-tolerance/three-strikes for utterly minor "crimes", and being treated like a criminal for wanting to travel around the country are all new things that have come to be over the last few decades. To pretty much any average US citizen (Helen Lovejoys aside) who is paying attention, this is an obvious and blatant turn for the worse.

    People being human is not preventing you from having nice things. The current environment that is dehumanizing everybody indiscriminately is.

  • Re:One more reason (Score:3, Insightful)

    by clarkkent09 (1104833) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @07:52PM (#34361062)

    There is far more evidence that the goal of at least some leading environmentalists is de-civilizing the society and a return to a primitive society (for example, a bestselling environmentalist author: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iTYe8WloF1U [youtube.com] ) than that there are people who would "prefer" to see world polluted beyond the point of being able to sustain a civilization. I don't know anybody who would want that.

  • Re:One more reason (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dmartin (235398) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @09:16PM (#34361500)

    Why?

    If you just go to the first part of what he said - you can get more stuff for the same amount of money if you buy on a date that is slightly later than the date everyone else uses - it is completely rational. There is artificial demand in the market because everyone is attempting to do the same thing. It is perfectly rational to delay a few days to get more stuff -- or to spend less on Christmas and more on the kids on small things for the rest of the year. The *only* reason that the 25th is special is because religious people celebrate that particular day. It doesn't (and arguably shouldn't) have to occur on the same day as "present day". I see this as a reason to be mildly envious of his kids: they are learning rational behavior and budgeting skills.

    As Roland went on to say, they found after trying this that the presents didn't actually matter. If that is a decision they have reached collectively then why should they care what some random stranger such as yourself may think? Not to be rude, but I think that I would worry about your kids more, feeling they have to please and conform.

  • by ffreeloader (1105115) on Sunday November 28, 2010 @02:08AM (#34362804) Journal

    No, it isn't just a study. It's one more manifestation of how intrusive society is any more and how little you do that isn't mined for information about you and used against you whether it be government or big business using the data to manipulate you.

    These types of "studies" weren't even considered 40 or 50 years ago even though they could have been done then too. Your phone calls couldn't be monitored by anyone back then without a warrant. Your president couldn't order your assassination, or that you, a US citizen, could be held without due process, on nothing more than an unsubstantiated accusation of terrorism back then either. The government couldn't come in and take over your business on any pretense and order you not to talk about it while refusing to release any information about the situation and denying you the right to your day in court. Today that is all possible under current law.

    Back then a kid could fly the US flag on his bike and not be told to either stop flying the US flag on Veterans's Day or he'd get suspended from school. If you had a piece of candy at school it wasn't taken away from you and you weren't punished. What you ate was your own business. Government couldn't have cared less. If you thanked God for your food before you ate in the school lunch room you weren't punished by the public school authorities. It was considered to be your own business what you believed, not the government's business. You know, that little clause in the Constitution that says, Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of a religion, or prohibiting the free expression thereof... , was actually understood and followed by all three branches of government.

    The Constitution and Declaration of Independence were taught, and admired by the vast majority of us back then. We understood that they are the foundation of our libery. We even said the Pledge of Allegiance in school. Most of us loved our country back then. We didn't do it ignorantly either. We recognized even then that our country has been less-than-perfect and did not like our country's failures, but we also knew we could never find a better place to live than right here in the US.

    After watching government become more and more intrusive, give big business more power by not enforcing the law, and violate our Constitution again and again as it increased its size and scope it's easy to see the big picture and understand what these seemingly unrelated events are doing to our freedoms and our liberty.

    Business has no more right to invade our privacy than government. Business has no more right to track all our activities than government does. Both are engaging in behavior that the founding fathers would not have allowed to happen, and that we, as American citizens should hot have allowed to happen either.

    We the people need to take our country back, and stop the madness.

  • Re:One more reason (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DarkKnightRadick (268025) <the_spoon.geo@yahoo.com> on Sunday November 28, 2010 @07:33AM (#34363552) Homepage Journal

    You've bought so fully into the lie of consumerism that you can't see anything else as being fulfilling for you or your family. That's a failure on society, sir; and yes, you and your wife for going along with it. Sorry, but I count that as an epic failure. One to be avoided on my part.

    If that's what makes you and your family happy, so be it, but do not think for one moment that it's right to feed that mentality.

  • Re:One more reason (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DarkKnightRadick (268025) <the_spoon.geo@yahoo.com> on Sunday November 28, 2010 @07:45AM (#34363580) Homepage Journal

    > I'm not a parent, but if I were

    Obviously you were never a kid either. Toys and presents mean a _lot_ to kids. Your kid may appreciate a hug and kind word, but there is no real substitute for a present.

    If the presents mean that much more to any child we may have, then I've failed my child. Period.

    I remember being a kid and it wasn't about the presents for me (which is probably good because we weren't well off). I loved getting them, but like another poster: I don't remember a single one. I remember time spent with my paternal grandparents (my grandfather died in 1996). I remember time spent with my maternal grandmother (my maternal grandfather died from alcoholism around the time I was born). I remember time spent with my parents, sister, aunts, uncles and cousins.

    All of this belies what the whole meaning for the season is, anyway. It's about the birth of Christ (the Christ in Christmas), while Easter is about His death (and not some stupid bunny that hides hard-boiled chicken eggs) and the fulfillment of prophecy through His death.

    So yeah, if you're buying into the consumerism, and then using our the selfishness of a child to support it, you're celebrating the wrong thing and you've failed your child. I don't care if you don't agree with me. The truth is the truth.

    Christmas isn't about presents. It isn't about who gets the most stuff. It's about the birth of a savior this world desperately needs but continues to reject. It's about family and love. The presents don't even come close to filling that role. They're a cheap and easy alternative to the true meaning of Christmas (Matthew 1:18-24).

    I'll probably be modded into oblivion for the next couple of weeks, but whatever.

"A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices." -- William James

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