Amazon’s long been a go-to for people to online price compare while shopping at brick-and-mortars. Now, a new patent granted to the company could prevent people from doing just that inside Amazon’s own stores.
The patent, titled “Physical Store Online Shopping Control,” details a mechanism where a retailer can intercept network requests like URLs and search terms that happen on its in-store Wi-Fi, then act upon them in various ways.
The document details in great length how a retailer like Amazon would use this information to its benefit. If, for example, the retailer sees you’re trying to access a competitor’s website to price check an item, it could compare the requested content to what’s offered in-store and then send price comparison information or a coupon to your browser instead. Or it could suggest a complementary item, or even block content outright.