You probably already know that your location can be tracked by your phone, your watch, even your car. Add “pants” to the list. Clothing brand Tommy Hilfiger has just released its XPLORE line, which incorporates a Bluetooth chip in each of its garments.
Unlike other iterations of “smart” or IoT-enabled clothing or gear that connects with a phone or other (often questionable) utility, XPLORE clothing is targeting a Pokemon Go variety of functionality. Specifically, the clothes make it possible for consumers to play an “innovative new game.”
The company’s website describes the purpose of these Bluetooth clothes, which seems like an incredibly unnecessary way to expand your attackable surface.
“[W]ear your item(s) to get points, walk around to find icons… and play weekly challenges for even more points.” Points can be redeemed for “cool rewards and VIP experiences.”
The company hasn’t specified how much personal data is being collected by the app that you need to download to play the game, or if that data is being sold to third parties, but the chips are encrypted and can be disabled.
Is the idea of a clothing brand tracking customers with wearable tech a great one, or something for the annals of data catastrophes waiting to happen? Only time will tell, but regardless, it is a completely avoidable consumer privacy pitfall.
Mining customer data just hit a new vein. We can only hope consumers will decide that their personal data is not a plaything to fuel corporate profits.