Weekly Column on Computerworld

Evan Schuman: Insecure security cameras sound like a joke, but aren't.

They're an example of big tech companies' failure to take security seriously. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Saks self-leaked customer data unencrypted, violating multiple rules.

Who needs thieves? Saks last week made clear that it can breach itself quite efficiently. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Feds struggle with regulating banking's use of big data.

Some highly sensitive data is going to be set loose. Read full story

Evan Schuman: If the CIA can sidestep encryption, what makes you think cyberthieves can't?

New Wikileaks documents show agents simply refining standard techniques of cybercriminals. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Whole Foods illustrates the challenge of late-stage CRM integration

What happens when a $16 billion, 37-year-old chain wants to tackle CRM for the first time? Whole Foods is about to find out. Read full story

Evan Schuman: A better security strategy than 'know your enemy': Know your co-workers

Something as simple as an uncharacteristic turn of phrase can clue people into an email's illegitimacy. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Mastercard needs to think about unintended consequences.

U.S. retail payment processors seem to act before considering what is likely to happen next. Read full story

Evan Schuman: True privacy online is not viable.

You can hide from casual observers, but a motivated person will see through your attempts at anonymization. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Panera finds digital helps recruitment, in unexpected ways.

Panera Bread found that mobile payments significantly helped recruit drivers. Why? Fewer robberies. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Why do merchants let their payment processors get away with so much?

For decades, merchants have signed agreements that force them to blindly trust their processors. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Dead men may tell no tales, but IoT devices do.

Real privacy laws are needed in the U.S., and now more than ever with the advent of the IoT. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Heads up, processors: Feds declare consumers' right to access their money.

In fining Mastercard and UniRush, CFPB officials specifically focused on a lack of prelaunch testing, which is typically an IT role. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Could web rental efficiency gut DIY chains?

If specialized do-it-yourself tools can be rented, easily and efficiently, for two hours, will that start to hurt Lowe's and Home Depot? Read full story

Evan Schuman: Amazon enjoys a very happy holiday season.

Holiday stats gave Amazon an amazing 46% of all U.S. e-commerce dollars, which is three percentage points more than the prior year. Read full story

Evan Schuman: What is behind far too many security leaks? Laziness.

Although segmentation is to be applauded, it's not the panacea for the cardholder data problem. Business processes are. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Bots may send your liability risk soaring.

Judges and juries may think that a company should be better able to eliminate errors in responses with automation. Read full story

Evan Schuman: KFC's facial-recognition trial is a disaster in the making.

A new facial-recognition trial from KFC China and Baidu has more potential to alienate customers than to help them. Read full story

Evan Schuman: A potentially fatal blow against patent trolls.

Forcing law firms to pay defendants' legal bills could undermine the business model of patent trolls. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Making gas stations safe for fraudsters again.

Mastercard and Visa have announced a three-year delay for EMV rollouts at gas stations. May the gas crimes commence. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Human-less stores are now possible — and it might be the end of retail.

Are retailers really willing to consider disassociating from associates? Read full story

Evan Schuman: Amazon Go has tremendous potential — once it fixes a few things.

Amazon last week introduced a new approach to in-store technology and strategy, with its Amazon Go experiment. On the plus side, it offers a vision of the possible, once it deals with some key LP hurdles. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Merchant sites open door to Visa fraud.

Visa dismisses the issue as a hypothetical attack method — but security researchers tried it and it worked. Read full story

Evan Schuman: With A.I. announcement, Mastercard goes for the hype.

Problems: Mastercard's approach is nothing new, and its usefulness is extremely limited. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Court clears up some in-app purchase uncertainty.

Mediating a battle between Amazon and the FTC, a federal judge offers some well-thought-out limits on in-app purchases for children. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Walmart's better tracking for recalled items is a wonderful first step.

Walmart's new attempt to use blockchain to help it contact buyers of recalled, dangerous products faces up to a long-neglected reality. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Macy's China experiment shows the potential — and limits — of retail VR.

Macy's this month made its debut appearance within Alibaba's Singles' Day in China. Well, sort of. Its appearance was only virtual. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Disputing Citi's dispute change.

There is no reason for Citi to aggravate a big chunk of the merchant community. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Home Depot reminds us why store-centric will be the death of retailers.

Customer-centric retail is not a buzzphrase. It's the only path to survival. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Rent-A-Center's POS glitch is a great ROI argument.

When revenue dropped, the CEO blamed a new POS system. That's bad for the company's IT department, but could be good for yours. Read full story

Evan Schuman: The FCC's new privacy rules are toothless.

If opt-in agreements can be hidden within T&C documents, consumers will have little choice than to sign away their privacy rights. Read full story

Evan Schuman: The limits of encryption.

The latest WikiLeaks revelations included a reminder that there are revealing things that just can't be encrypted. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Does privacy exist anymore? Just barely.

The sphere of privacy continues to shrink. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Can Vodafone Pay work when the phone is dead? Depends on how you define 'dead.'

A long-standing complaint about NFC phone payments has been, "What happens when the phone battery dies?" Vodafone has come up with a way around that — albeit with a lot of caveats. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Amazon and the hazards of inadequate app testing.

Amazon quietly updated its app last week and confessed that its iOS shopping cart would freeze when a shopper tries to switch between apps. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Let's get serious about IoT security.

The threats posed by IoT devices are real and have to be addressed with structural changes. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Target's voice-recognition effort: How natural does natural language have to be?

Target's voice-recognition trial misunderstands the allure of Amazon's Alexa and Apple's Siri, and also how shoppers think and communicate. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Mobile is part of e-commerce, not a rival.

For years, retail has clumsily struggled with various merged channel strategies. No changes in commission structure or bonus requirements have proved effective. Read full story

Evan Schuman: The ultimate unanswerable question: Are we PCI-compliant?

When you most need to be able to say that you are PCI-compliant is when it's taken away. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Your users have porous passwords? Blame yourself, IT.

Your efforts at raising security awareness could be making users feel that it's pointless to try to protect themselves. Read full story

Evan Schuman: A new channel challenge for retailers: Dual-screening.

In retail, we have seen merged channel, omnichannel and multi-channel, but here's an interesting twist: We are now seeing concrete marketing evidence from dual-screening, one courtesy of a new eBay U.K. report. Dual-screening is where a shopper watches television while also interacting with a mobile device. Read full story

Evan Schuman: The best way to doom a holiday retail trial to failure: Don't brief employees.

The combination of seasonal help and tech trials -- when combined with a lack of training -- is a holiday recipe for disaster. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Walmart's self-driving shopping cart magic.

Envision opening the Walmart app and summoning a cart to wherever you're standing and having it drive right to you. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Chase Mobile grasps the obvious about biometrics.

Chase has quietly stopped asking for passwords for sensitive transfers on its mobile app, concluding that a fingerprint-scan is quite sufficient. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Amazon's crackdown on third-party sellers is the right approach.

If demanding receipts is too much bother for fraudsters, so much the better. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Why EMV is making fraud soar.

EMV deployment struggles are keeping in-store fraud rates high while pushing online fraud much higher. Worst of both worlds for the moment. Read full story

Evan Schuman: New Siri commands smarter, but not smart enough.

Promise of easier ways to catch a ride falls short. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Google Wallet gets that speed is everything.

The developer mindset is light-years from how consumers actually interact with apps. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Amazon's wacky workweek hours experiment.

Amazon's rationale — there are people who want to work fewer hours at a price of lower pay — is old-fashioned. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Home Depot's magic value: Returns.

During an August investors call, Home Depot CEO Craig Menear let loose a stunning stat: 90% of all online returns are processed in-store. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Amazon's Hyundai move shows deep understanding of shoppers.

The magic of retail centers is on knowing and understanding shoppers better than they know themselves, and Amazon is brilliant at it. Read full story

Evan Schuman: The CVS go-it-alone app suffers from the pharma payment pain.

Few retailers have as complicated and painful payment systems as do drugstores. CVS is struggling to do the best it can. Read full story

Evan Schuman: All-digital customer service is not perfect.

Consider Jack in the Box, which a year ago shut down all of its customer call centers, pushing customer service online. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Walmart's Jet move: Is IT magic enough on its own to take on Amazon?

When Walmart said that it was buying Jet.com for $3 billion, it was widely interpreted as it getting serious about competing with Amazon. That's not what is happening. Read full story

Evan Schuman: There's never a shortage of security holes.

New reports last week highlighted some novel ways for information to get into the wrong hands. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Target CIO's request to do far fewer things is heresy — but really good heresy.

At a Fortune 500 company, money — and the number of projects under your command — is power. Target's CIO has a very different view. Read full story

Evan Schuman: PayPal's better way to count authentication failures.

Websites use the baseball rule to thwart authentication thieves: Three strikes and you're out. PayPal argues that there's a better way, one that customizes the rules to the user. Read full story

Evan Schuman: A familiar face: Snapchat's patent suggests path for retail.

With CRM, merchants try to understand shoppers as much as possible. In today's social-media-oriented world, that goes far beyond a list of products purchased and website pages visited. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Will 7-Eleven build on feat of completing first retail drone delivery?

One small step for man, one giant leap for flying Slurpees. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Surefire security fail: One. App. At. A. Time.

A centralized approach that governs how apps interact and what they are allowed to do is essential. Read full story

Evan Schuman: What's holding back EMV?

Visa has new stats showing that nearly three-quarters of U.S. merchants still can't handle chip cards. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Mastercard's new logo spits on plastic.

The change from 'MasterCard' to 'Mastercard' is part of a play for a role in a digital marketplace. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Get off my lawn: Federal panel says websites can ban anyone.

Envision using this against a spammer, someone whose comments you don't like or a bargain-hunter that is cutting into your margins. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Starbucks burned by aggressive pricing automation.

Starbucks software rolled out a price increase weeks before it was supposed to. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Google quietly brings forgetting to the U.S.

Seeing all your Google activity in one place can be eye-opening, and having the ability to delete any of it carries some far-reaching implications. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Amazon challenges retail on what a sale means.

Consumers love sales, and yet the concept itself is oddly unclear. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Walmart Pay vs. Apple Pay: Hardware age dictates all.

Walmart Pay is about to go national, but why didn't it embrace NFC payments? Read full story

Evan Schuman: For Facebook, violating users' privacy is going to backfire someday.

Eroding trust is a lot easier than restoring it. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Whole Foods trying out whole new ways of retailing.

It's rethinking retail. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Think in-store is dying? Check out Ulta Beauty.

In-store can still work well, but experience must reign supreme. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Are QR codes more useful in hiding information than displaying it?

A senate bill raises frightening questions. Will retailers and manufacturers use QR codes to hide need-to-know consumer information, by being vague about what the code will deliver? Read full story

Evan Schuman: Target learns that customized offers need to be in your face.

Customized offers are great, but the line between perfect match and creepy is nuanced. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Apple Pay's Mac move: Less friction? No, but slightly less fraud.

Shoppers won't have to enter their credit card details — but the number of times it will be truly useful is small. Read full story

Evan Schuman: The retail EMV quagmire.

Home Depot's lawsuit against Visa and MasterCard tackled the security problems of the EMV rollout. But what the retailer conveniently forgot to mention is far more germane. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Walmart went nuclear and banned Visa from Canada.

Walmart's decision was both surprising and long overdue. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Target's war on suppliers could be averted through more creative IT.

Better analytics and mobile crowdsourcing could deliver better pricing. Read full story

Evan Schuman: NRF's attack on PCI is strong on theory, weak on specifics.

After 12 years of operation, shouldn't NRF be able to point to better and more concrete examples? Read full story

Evan Schuman: Amazon's arbitration attack of its own merchants is system gaming at its best.

The move is an attack against bogus reviews, but there's a lot more going on here. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Target kills curbside pilot because it was never a fit.

Experimentation is great, but a retailer needs to understand how it is perceived. On that point, Target failed. Read full story

Evan Schuman: LinkedIn's disturbing breach notice.

What is hard to understand is why LinkedIn didn't feel the need to force password changes until four years after the breach. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Chili's sees table-based tablet as way to recapture dinner.

The chain may be radically rethinking how business can be done. Read full story

Evan Schuman: EMV rules ruining Apple Pay.

Trader Joe's and Whole Foods are the latest retailers to see the Apple Pay experience bedeviled by EMV rules. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Green Dot's Walmart outage should scare all retailers.

A grim reminder of how interconnected the payments world is these days. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Bringing shopping malls into the 21st century.

If all its stores consolidated their technology and resources, a mall could deliver a shopping experience that even Amazon couldn't match. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Target's 'pay less for old produce' trial has serious risks but even better potential.

In a sense, this is the ultimate in transparency, giving shoppers who want to pay for fresher produce that choice. Read full story

Evan Schuman: A purchase protection bot that delivers, albeit it in a less-than-comforting way.

Price protection programs depend on shoppers not bothering to check after the purchase is done. This app changes all of that. Read full story

Evan Schuman: How the Siri team could change retail.

Could virtual assistants soon be calling retail stores directly and handling complicated discussions? If so, the implications are tremendous. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Kohl's Apple Pay deal illustrates why mobile wallet is a lot harder than it looks.

The cool part here is Kohl's integration, which makes it just about effortless for the shopper. Or does it? Read full story

Evan Schuman: Appellate court ruling will make a lot more work for Web designers.

The decision from a case involving a company's method of presenting its terms and conditions is otherwise fairly meaningless. Read full story

Evan Schuman: PCI's new rules focus on the chiefs.

Far too often, the levels above CIOs and CISOs don't understand PCI and find the ever-increasing cost of security frustrating. Read full story

Evan Schuman: If the shoe fits: Prada shows how to master in-store sales.

When it comes to apparel, footwear has generated some of the most powerful sites, but a personal component to shoe shopping transcends what is possible online. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Visa's EMV struggle: PCI is going to impose new payments security rules this week — and they don't go nearly far enough.

Either wall off your payment data so that no one beyond a small set authorized persons can get access, regardless of network privilege, or force everyone to play by PCI rules. Here's the kicker: They already should have been playing by PCI rules. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Visa's EMV struggle: Is better preferable to consistent?

When Visa introduced its Quick Chip for EMV on Tuesday, it placed retailers in an awkward — but interesting — position. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Need more proof of mobile's impact? Look to AMC CEO's statements.

The CEO publicly said that he wanted to allow texting and other mobile interactions during films. That's how powerful the idea of mobile has become. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Microsoft's lawsuit, and retail's data-disclosure secrecy problem.

Microsoft doesn't want government seizures of its data, done in secrecy, to jeopardize the trust its customers must hold toward it. Retailers have the same problem. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Let's not make secure encryption illegal.

Restrictions are abhorrent and a draft bill in the Senate is overly broad and ambiguous. But if Congress insists on restrictions, let's add some critical limits. Read full story

Evan Schuman: The best reason for never giving in to ransomware demands.

There are many reasons not to pay ransom to regain access to your data. Let's opt for the selfish one. Read full story

Evan Schuman: In-store QR videos need to go way beyond ads.

It seems a shame to waste the ability to show shoppers any imagery or video you want on commercials. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Apparel maker meshes RFID, NFC and QR together — and makes it all work.

This is an impressive piece of engineering. By combining RFID, NFC and QR, Moncler is trying to deliver the best of all approaches. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Don't let embarrassment about a data breach cost you even more.

Cyberthieves prey on human nature for even more profit. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Domino's pizza robot is giving tech a bad name.

This robot saunters to your home at 12 mph and insists that you leave your house to meet it on the sidewalk to get your cold pizza. Domino's stresses that you can't pay it a tip, but there was never much risk of that. Read full story

Evan Schuman: The new Apple Stores show how compelling in-store can be.

If your stores look and function as they did 10 years ago, you need to rethink design. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Why McDonald's CRM effort won't work.

McDonald's CRM program may just prove to be a great case study for when a CRM program costs more than it helps. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Retail's struggles with improving in-store checkout.

With all of the effort by retailers to lure shoppers into their stores, one would think that granting those customers an easy and painless exit would be a priority. One would be wrong. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Lowe's, Bloomingdale's take wacky approaches to mobile marketing.

Grabbing a young shopper on mobile or social today goes far beyond what it says. Engagement today is meant quite literally. Read full story

Evan Schuman: How to catch a thief, e-commerce style.

The latest testing reveals some non-intuitive computer profile details for spotting the bad guys. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Retail's gift card crackdown self-defeating.

The thieves will find other tactics and the shoppers will shop elsewhere. Congrats, retailers: You'll have succeeded in becoming less popular for all. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Will the FTC's PCI probe do any good?

Even for merchants — who typically express bitter resentment about the paperwork-intensive and labor-expensive PCI process — it's an uncomfortable area to probe. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Sports Authority's post-bankruptcy plan won't work.

Sports Authority's post-bankruptcy plan won't work. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Why don't sports retailers get what Reebok understands so well?

It's all about giving customers a reason to visit the store. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Beware of iOS hiding your email messages.

As enterprises rely ever more deeply on mobile devices for email, CIOs beware. A bug in iOS is periodically hiding email messages, in a way that makes the messages appear to have been deleted. Read full story

Evan Schuman: The encryption quicksand into which Apple is sinking.

As the encryption argument takes center stage in the ongoing Apple vs. the U.S. Government squabbles, a very important—and potentially destructive—change is taking place in security strategy. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Domino's again uses technology illusion brilliantly.

A custom-built pizza delivery car is the chain's latest masterly stroke at distracting from the core product. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Nordstrom discovers the high cost of merged channel.

Has the chain that best understands customer service figured out merged channel and enterprise IT, too? Read full story

Evan Schuman: No matter how hard Walmart tries, it can't shake being store-centric.

Even as the chain tries its hardest to sound channel-agnostic, it somehow always comes back to getting shoppers into its physical stores. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Match.com learns that encryption alone isn't enough.

Without obfuscation, Android app encryption security doesn't help much. That's a lesson Match.com learned, but it took long enough. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Payment options can complicate e-commerce ROI.

Under the best of circumstances, figuring out e-commerce ROI is challenging. The e-commerce chief at RainbowShops.com found that PayPal support adds a lot more complexity. Read full story

Evan Schuman: What Amazon is doing with its supply chain could devastate the competition.

A huge planned global supply chain move by Amazon could disrupt product access, sharply lower Amazon's costs and accelerate product delivery to shoppers. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Why is retail afraid of voice recognition for mobile apps?

Retailers have overwhelmingly avoided any attempts to dabble with voice recognition, but that is a huge error. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Making shoppers happy for the right reasons.

New Accenture research says retailers are not delivering for their customers. It's the right conclusion, but for the wrong reasons. Read full story

Evan Schuman: EU, U.S. data-transfer deal will never work.

And there's no way the negotiators didn't know that. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Enterprise CIOs, think it's OK to ignore SMB security holes? Think again.

The CIOs, IT Directors and CISOs for large companies have enough to worry about without having to take on the mountains of security holes infesting small- and medium-sized businesses around the globe. But a new report shows a direct connection between SMB security flaws and those of their Fortune 1000 neighbors. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Rebecca Minkoff's RFID trial painted itself into a corner--deliberately.

The apparel and accessory chain gets creative with its RFID magic mirror trial-and leverages special dressing room paint to block both RF and mobile signals. Read full story

Evan Schuman: In the retail battle of the drones, Google's the pragmatist, but Amazon's the dreamer.

If you want to understand how these companies differ, study their drone filings. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Does anyone really want the government deciding encryption policy?

Security and privacy debates are highly nuanced, allowing for much interpretation, balancing acts and differences of opinion. For that reason, I try and be tolerant of a wide range of views on the subject. Every so often, though, some executive says something so divorced from logic and reality that silence is not an option. Enter AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson and his attack on Apple's encryption efforts. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Nordstrom's magic foot sizer.

Laser measurements are far more advanced than the shoe industry. But it will give Nordstrom's shoppers a reason to believe the customer service magic. Read full story

Evan Schuman: The power of touch could — but won't — be Amazon's Achilles' heel.

Physical stores need to be re-envisioned to let the feel, smell and sounds of products sell themselves. It's a shame that retailers won't ever do that. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Has Victoria's Secret figured out the secret to retail social campaigns?

Using social to create the illusion of intimacy is good, but it's never forgetting the brand that is the magic. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Amazon: Can't afford something? We'll loan you the money.

Does Amazon really want to get into the loan business? That's the part of shopping that customers hate. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Girl Scout move shows Visa at its craftiest.

Visa's Girl Scouts program is about many things, not the least of which is converting one of the last bastions of cash sales. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Data convenience isn't a crime, but treating it as one should be.

It's self-defeating to try to protect data by treating it all as if it's equally sensitive. Read full story

Evan Schuman: SnipSnap wants to be the price-match ruler of rules.

It says something really bad that a company can make a living interpreting retail price-match rules. Read full story

Evan Schuman: An IT lesson from Anonymous: Even lawless groups need rules.

Recruit a bunch of anarchists and — surprise, surprise — you get anarchy. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Does security knowledge make you comfortable or more paranoid?

A new Deloitte survey suggests that younger consumers are more aware of mobile security and data risks than any other segment. What do they know — or not know? Read full story

Evan Schuman: Target prepping stores with 'no shopping cart, no bag'

Target has a vision of a new kind of physical store to compete with online rivals, one that attempts to sidestep the drudgery of shopping by wiping out the need for customers to lug around their purchases through the store's aisles. Read full story

Evan Schuman: A neglected retail IT trial is worse than none at all.

A neglected trial is expensive in ways far beyond out-of-pocket costs. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Will shoppers use Ralph Lauren's RFID dressing room?

Giving shoppers an easy way to summon an associate is bad news if you don't have associates to respond quickly. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Judge applies common sense to question of what constitutes a data breach.

A breach that doesn't result in anyone compromising any data is something like the proverbial tree that falls in the forest with no one around. Is it truly a data breach? Read full story

Evan Schuman: Domino's tests brilliant one-click buy for the physical world.

Domino's has proved itself adept at mastering sales via online, mobile and social media. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Why Wall Street is so interested in Square.

Square is one of the few companies truly trying to change retail payments. This may be the only chance to buy in. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Amazon, and Wall Street's shortsighted stupidity.

Wall Street has no collective memory. Consider Amazon's infrastructure investments. Wall Street is drooling now, but not so long ago it thought they were a terrible idea. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Anonymous just might make all the difference in attacking ISIS.

The hacking group's activities have always seemed dubious, but in this case, success will be quite welcome. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Macy's, Walmart still trying to balance in-store, online holiday sales.

It's time to fully embrace merged channel. Read full story

Evan Schuman: What's the truth behind Walmart's failed facial recognition trial?

Was this project really just an effort to flag shoppers who had previously been suspected of shoplifting? Read full story

Evan Schuman: Amazon's Machiavellian same-day delivery trial.

No one in retail is more manipulative about free offers than Amazon — or more successful at it. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Retailers, why not set up multilingual call centers?

With a video connection to any store in the chain, foreign-born customers could deal with sales associates who speak their language. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Don't throw out that old phone — turn it into a privacy device.

An idea aimed at consumers just might work for enterprises that want to safeguard communications too. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Walmart undermines its online strategy — again.

When you watch Walmart, as I have done for years, you start to wonder where it wants to go with its business model, and whether it has any chance of ever getting there. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Amazon's attack of fake reviews is as brilliant as it is necessary.

It's a rare lawsuit that achieves good. Amazon's might just end up doing that. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Retailer gets naughty, blames software.

Apparently, an evil programmer elf came up with a clever way to bypass supervisors checking pages before they went live. Read full story

Evan Schuman: John Lewis coins new name for treating shoppers poorly.

The chain says adding a fee to click-and-collect didn't hurt sales. First, that's not at all clear. Second, anti-shopper moves never ever work in the long term. Never. Read full story

Evan Schuman: FBI EMV gaffe is the latest setback for payments security.

It's bad enough when the FBI announces to the world that you're not secure enough. It's even worse when it then reluctantly takes it back. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Apple's 3D Touch system may be useful — someday.

The system is counterintuitive, and its usefulness is yet to be demonstrated. Read full story

Evan Schuman: If Abercrombie wants to become a mobile brand, then it should really do it.

Item-level RFID, geolocation, cross-retailer CRM and true associate integration are the initial elements. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Fair pricing blows away low pricing.

Deliberately making shoppers jump through hurdles to get "better" pricing is arguably retail's most self-defeating idea ever. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Security companies shouldn't be this thin-skinned.

FireEye, like all companies, wants to protect its intellectual property. But it needs to realize that security companies aren't perceived like other companies. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Data breach costs go way beyond chargebacks.

In security circles, hype and marketing — and the security complacency they encourage — can be more dangerous than a well-funded cyberthief. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Best Buy's robot reinforces the chain's perceived weakness.

There's no doubt that this robot will prove to be an attention-generating novelty in Manhattan, but will it ultimately prove counterproductive for Best Buy? Read full story

Evan Schuman: Merged channel's maddening paradox, Bed, Bath & Beyond style.

Increasing digital sales doesn't mean you need fewer stores. Paradoxically, it can mean you need a lot more of them. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Walgreens thinks claiming IT ignorance is better than admitting an error.

Instead of saying that unplanned manual efforts across more than 8,000 stores caused some transactions to fall through the cracks, Walgreens prefers to say it has no idea whether all transactions went through or not. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Mobile apps: Publish first, test never.

When a user-experience company recently tested mobile apps from pharmacy chain Rite Aid and restaurant chain Applebee's, both apps greatly frustrated focus-group users. Is mobile development being ignored? Read full story

Evan Schuman: Walgreens wants to use wearables to give instant discounts for exercising.

Consumers love the idea of being healthy far more than they love doing what it takes to be healthy. For Walgreens, that's a win-win. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Is Target leading in non-echo-chamber thinking?

To a greater extent than others, Target is trying to be creative about finding approaches that resonate. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Kaspersky: Great product, dreadful installation/upgrade process.

All companies need to pay more attention to the experience that ordinary users have when they try to install new products and upgrades. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Faustian bargain: Regret awaits Metro/Alibaba deal.

This global Faustian bargain assumes that this deal will last forever. Didn't Borders/Amazon teach us anything? Read full story

Evan Schuman: Responsive Web design makes an inefficient design too darn easy.

Is easy design too easy? More importantly, is it costing e-commerce sites serious dollars? Read full story

Evan Schuman: No more on-call in retail? Then why do you need that traffic analytics license?

The reversals by Gap, Victoria's Secret and Abercrombie & Fitch move should cause IT to re-evaluate quite a few decisions. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Inside the head of your company's cyber traitor.

Employers misjudge how potential insider cyberattackers will judge the risks and payoffs from their crimes. Read full story

Evan Schuman: The right way to tackle Amazon.

Brick-and-mortar retailers can't beat Amazon at its game. Instead, they must force Amazon to play theirs. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Can mobile save the mall? Yes, but not how you think.

It's not about bringing customers into the mall. It's about giving them reasons to come all the time — and not wanting to leave. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Coke's movie theater trial shows beacon potential.

Coca-Cola is starting to get creative about beacons. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Bloomingdale's gift card glitch illustrates lack of oversight.

Zero oversight is bad, especially given that there's almost no way of getting the money back. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Using clues to move paper coupons to mobile.

Printed coupons and mobile devices are as far apart as Bitcoins and silver dollars. One company has been specializing in bridging the gap. Read full story

Evan Schuman: The best and worst performing retail mobile apps — but no reasons why.

A report tells us what apps we like, but not why. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Are we safe from self-aware robots?

A breakthrough in A.I. has been reported that suddenly makes all of those apocalyptic predictions about killer robots seem less crazy. Read full story

Evan Schuman: The Bot That Cried Wolf: Battery tracking poses no real privacy threat.

If we worry about every possible privacy invasion, we will end up not paying enough attention to the ones that really need to be addressed. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Target gets smart about beacons.

Target has revealed some clever twists. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Google's in-store traffic predictor.

Counting people inside the store is a service that could be very powerful — if done with shoppers and merchants in mind. Read full story

Evan Schuman: The real message behind Walmart's supplier pricing memo.

As any Walmart supplier knows, there's no such thing as an innocuous memo from Bentonville. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Amazon's drone zone effort is the perfect retail domination play.

Amazon tries to enlist NASA in effort to control the skies. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Privacy and the data toothpaste problem.

Two court rulings basically maintain that we can't expect privacy on the phone or on social media. George Orwell would be proud of the judges. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Can networked lighting find you a great parking spot?

Perhaps a journey of 1,000 SKUs starts with a single parking break? Read full story

Evan Schuman: Self-checkout psychology: Don't scare away shoppers.

Retailers really want shoppers to use self-checkout, but many underestimate the psychological deterrents they put in place. Read full story

Evan Schuman: High rent and e-commerce didn't do in FAO Schwarz.

They were just excuses for the closing of the chain's flagship toy store. Read full story

Evan Schuman: How should an underage cyberthief be dealt with?

If our goal in sentencing is to reduce such crimes, you have to ask how sending kids to prison accomplishes that. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Apple stands alone in controlling the in-store experience.

Would-be copiers have to understand that Apple's circumstances actually fit the word 'unique'. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Walmart buy-online-pick-up-in-store train wreck.

A single experience shouldn't condemn the tactic, but shoppers use one-time experiences all the time in deciding what shops and services to use in the future. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Ranking of retailers stays static — so why is that worth deep analysis?

The Stores Magazine editors want us to believe it was all about IT. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Will Trump cyberattack actually be good for security?

Reports have some of Donald Trump's hotels being hit by a payment card-seeking cyberattack. This could lead to a very high-profile exploration of how little a company can do to prevent being breached. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Social-media policies: You can't say that!

The sad truth is that "That's not what I meant" isn't a defense that can save anyone's job. Read full story

Evan Schuman: New e-commerce model: Where everybody knows your name — and everything else about you.

An app that sets up a profile of you for all the e-tailers you visit could be convenient, but it carries some troubling privacy implications. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Price comparison engines have become so relevant that they're now irrelevant.

A bad price can't hide, marketing magic notwithstanding. Read full story

Evan Schuman: QR codes and porn: Heinz learns a domain renewal lesson.

As companies use more domain names, this problem will crop up more frequently. Read full story

Evan Schuman: CVS's Target deal: Prescription for a privacy disaster.

Lost amid all of the mega-drugstore talk sparked by this acquisition are some extremely likely data security and privacy problems and HIPAA horrors. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Digitization: Making the post office meaningful again.

USPS executives see it as salvation for the service, but can anything make the post office relevant again? Read full story

Evan Schuman: What is behind retail's $1.1 trillion inventory losses?

Retail research house IHL in June estimated an industrywide loss of $1.1 trillion. But IHL is not limiting itself to traditional metrics. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Woolworths' $1M lesson from gift card blunder.

Accidental data breaches might be the most dangerous. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Will Tesco shoppers freak out at six-foot tall RFID robots?

As Tesco clothing shoppers rifle through the chain's apparel assortment, they'll be sharing the aisles with six-foot-tall RFID robots, rolling up and down, scanning clothing tags for inventory. Read full story

Evan Schuman: The database integration rainbow: What Priceline has figured out.

The next step in mobile magic starts with cross-comparing all of the data already collected. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Yahoo tries legal pirouettes in court, breaks neck.

One of the company's arguments: Yahoo Mail customers should notify anyone who emails them that any email they send to the customer could be scanned by Yahoo – presumably including the original email already sent before the customer could warn the sender. And that argument didn't work? Read full story

Evan Schuman: Amazon's free same-day delivery offer sounds great, unless you think about its customers.

Amazon is trying to better local stores at their own game, but it looks like what Amazon gains in ideas is being lost in deployment. Read full story

Evan Schuman: FTC cracks down on mobile shopper tracking service, but could it possibly matter less?

The FTC could have made a statement about what limits and notifications need to be in place. Instead, it focused on a narrow phrasing issue, while buying into industry marketing arguments that are truly misleading and dangerous. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Besides RFID, will Target take credit for penicillin?

Retailers, don't take credit for a technology that's been around for a while. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Domino's tweet-to-eat campaign is sneaky social media at its best.

Ordering a pizza via Twitter isn't faster or more convenient than submitting the same entry through the company's mobile app. But it does have one huge advantage – enjoyed almost entirely by Domino's. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Mobile payments: What will it take for beacons to take the next step?

To move from discount-pitching to sale-closing, a few hurdles have to be cleared. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Who's flying the plane? The latest reason to never ignore security holes.

Companies make excuses for not addressing security holes that seem unlikely to be exploited. The problem is that they often do get exploited. Just ask United. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Time's up for putting off IPv6 decisions.

With the Internet of Things, we're going to be needing a lot more IP addresses. That's exactly what IPv6 has in mind. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Whole Foods, Nordstrom: To thy own brand be true.

Retailers need to think about how the ways they use new technology could damage carefully crafted brands. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Apple Pay 2.0: Phones with benefits.

It's becoming increasingly clear that what all mobile wallets have lacked so far is a good reason to use them. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Digital Dumpster diving: A trashcan that reports on what you throw away.

An early Internet of Things entrant demonstrates some of the problems the IoT will bring. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Is Amazon a lousy retailer? The answer truly is in the cloud.

How Amazon is using cloud dollars to freak out every retailer in the country. Read full story

Evan Schuman: The realities of security crash into the realities of business.

CFOs and CEOs want guarantees, and none exist in security. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Security extortion? When legit disclosure morphs into a shakedown.

How a company handles people telling it about its own security holes says an awful lot about how that company views itself. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Target's under-stocked sale: Lessons not learned.

There's a nuanced distinction between having a very popular sale and arranging for far too little merchandise. And between crashing and having a slow site. Target needs to learn those distinctions. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Is Amazon trusting tech too much?

Amazon envisions a retail floor with no checkout, run by an array of cameras and scales that will identify shoppers and the products they grab. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Sony reminds us all what a pathetically weak link email is.

We all rely on email too much to share and archive sensitive information, and we're all at risk. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Pot luck: Facial recognition gets boost from marijuana kiosks.

Between iPhone's fingerprints and a kiosk's face check, biometrics may be getting its day. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Macy's mobile app tackles local store search — and demonstrates why it's so difficult.

We tested the app and couldn't get very far before it glitched — repeatedly. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Let's rethink email.

One startup is trying a new approach. Will other new ideas follow? Read full story

Evan Schuman: Where's the data?

The U.S. government wants access to an alleged drug dealer's emails, but Microsoft says, sorry, they're in Ireland and out of bounds. This is what happens when we apply non-digital rules to digital situations. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Some email truths for Hillary Clinton.

One thing she should know is that armed guards aren't really equipped to stop a data breach. Read full story

Evan Schuman: LLAP, Star Trek tech!

The death of Leonard Nimoy brings to mind how far-reaching the Star Trek legacy has been. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Uber shows how not to do a privacy report.

If you only let the investigators look at your policies and not at what your employees actually do, you're telling us a lot more about your real privacy views than you realize. And it's not pretty. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Can you trust Amazon's WorkMail?

The company is being coy about what it can do with your enterprise's email if you sign up for its cloud-based service. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Let's not make patent trolls stronger.

Bill proposed by National Retail Federation wouldn't shut them down, and it might simply legitimize them. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Same-day delivery's big chance.

This Christmas, Amazon made a delivery when not a creature should have been stirring. That could herald great changes on the retail landscape. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Hold the phone, McDonald's.

The fast food giant's drive-through Apple Pay implementation is kludgy and uncomfortable for both the customer and the employee. Is anyone testing this stuff? Read full story

Evan Schuman: Getting in customers' faces.

When retailers use IT analytics to get close to their customers, they need to do it the right way. Read full story

Evan Schuman: OK, BlackBerry, what else have you got besides security?

The once-dominant mobile-email player's latest pitch is irrelevant for today's smartphone buyers. Can the company's BYOD pitch save the day? Read full story

Evan Schuman: Are fingerprints PINs or physical artifacts?

A judge's ruling that a person can be forced to open his phone with his fingerprint ignores the fact that the fingerprint scan is just a substitute PIN, which can't be required by law enforcement. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Tracking and the law

As courts continue to rule on what is and is not acceptable when it comes to tracking, a lot of what we do with our smartphones could become illegal. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Google's takedown policy: Celebrity nudes today, your right to know tomorrow?

Google patted itself on the back for being responsive to a request to take down nude photos of celebrities. But it should have stressed that all such requests are subject to intensive due diligence. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Apple outsmarts the thieves

The Apple Pay approach to mobile payment turns the security conundrum upside down by keeping data out of thief-magnet servers. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Apple's mobile payment rolling out despite problems

If lack of data visibility is crippling Apple, what chance do mere IT mortals have? Read full story

Evan Schuman: Google eyes the preteen set

No marketer wants to leave a potential market untapped, and Google hates to disappoint marketers. That could explain why Google is going to start offering Gmail, YouTube and other accounts to kids younger than 13. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Barnes & Noble plays into Amazon's hands

Same-day delivery is a boon for the online leader, but it will only help doom B&N. Read full story

Evan Schuman: The data dangers of free public Wi-Fi

New York's plan to turn pay phones into free Wi-Fi stations could be a template for other cities, and bad news for IT departments trying to protect corporate data and intellectual property. Read full story

Evan Schuman: What if you can't trust your inbox?

Goldman Sachs is taking Google to court to force the cloud vendor to delete an email accidentally sent to a Gmail user. The consequences of a ruling for Goldman would be devastating. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Supreme Court on obvious patents: Common sense isn't so horrible.

Unanimous decision won't shut down patent trolls, but it will curb worst abuses. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Do you know whom you're following on Twitter? Neither does Twitter, apparently.

Fake accounts that troll for followers' contact info just might be a problem. Meet 'Alex Van Pelter.' Oh, and LinkedIn is great, except when it's annoying. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Is Google forgetting that interactivity pays its bills?

As Google gears up for the Internet of Things, its vision seems a bit off. Thermostats as billboards? Read full story

Evan Schuman: Killer robots? What could go wrong? Oh, yeah...

The UN wants to talk about killer robots as 'conventional weapons.' Someone needs to learn the IT facts of life: If something can go wrong, it will. Read full story

Evan Schuman: One law to rule all data breaches -- but let's make it a real law

The White House's big report on big-data privacy has several shortcomings. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Snapchat's reputation is vanishing (unlike its images)

FTC takes it to task for misleading privacy policy, other transgressions. You should take another look at your company's privacy policy. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Snapchat's latest feature shows why IT must tame marketing's inner monster

Marketers will want to use tools like Snapchat's Here feature to bend consumers to their will. IT has to inject rationality into the resulting discussions. Read full story

Evan Schuman: With Heartbleed, IT leaders are missing the point

If our checks and balances are so fragile that a typo can obliterate all meaningful security, we have some fundamental things to fix. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Social media endangers corporate secrets

Employees can unintentionally share more than their employers want anyone to know. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Resurrection of Full Disclosure mailing list is great news, if you're not a cyberthief

The alternatives to an independent list like Full Disclosure can't match it for stopping new cyberattack tactics. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Wal-Mart is latest big company with mobile-app security problems

Walgreens also joins the list, as it becomes increasingly obvious that companies aren't doing enough security testing. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Can Starbucks get people to use its app to pay for dry cleaning?

The coffee purveyor has indicated it wants to move in that direction. But so do other companies, and they all have some hurdles to overcome. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Is MasterCard's fraud program just another data grab?

It offers slightly greater payment convenience, but at what cost? Read full story

Evan Schuman: Mobile IT Roach Motel: Data checks in, but it won't check out

Even if a company were willing to expunge personal data that it had been authorized to collect, the realities of IT systems mean it probably could never completely do that. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Transparency about data retention requires knowing what you have

A new call for transparency about what data mobile apps are retaining sounds fine and noble, but too many companies don't even know what their apps know about consumers. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Your data exposed -- Delta, Facebook, others latest to fall into mobile app trap

Match.com and eHarmony also among those now saying, 'We didn't know our mobile apps did that'. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Get ready, IT; here comes the Internet of Things

You might see security and privacy pitfalls, but the advantages of the Internet of Things mean there's no stopping it. Your smart fridge is going to miss you when you're working every night. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Bluetooth bras and bumping bozos

Tech overreach now has its mascot: the True Love Tester bra. How do companies green-light such hare-brained product ideas? Read full story

Evan Schuman: App testing and sins of omission

Starbucks released a mobile app that stored passwords in clear text. There's a good chance that a lot of other companies just don't know whether they could find themselves in the same situation. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Fear of Glass

Google Glass is just the latest technological advance to elicit fear and dread in some quarters, including law enforcement. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Hijacked by social media

Why would anyone be comfortable with social networking sites sending out messages in their name? Read full story

Evan Schuman: Starbucks sat on its clear-text password problem for months

The company is dancing around the question of what it knew and when it knew it, but the security problem was not a revelation for it this week. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Starbucks caught storing mobile passwords in clear text

In a case of convenience for users trumping security, Starbucks has been storing the passwords for its mobile-payment app, along with geolocation data, in clear text. Read full story

Evan Schuman: Starbucks and the art of persuasion

The coffee chain was smart enough to push mobile by not initially pushing mobile. It's an approach that can work for your business too, internally and externally. Read full story

Evan Schuman: What to include in your mobile privacy policy

If your company doesn't yet have a mobile-specific privacy policy, it's time to get to work. Read full story

2014: Time to rethink privacy

Companies have to fully confront the privacy issues they face and rethink their policies from the bottom up. Read full story

Target's security: Better than I thought

The way Target deployed triple DES encryption for debit card PINs makes its statement about the unlikelihood that they were in danger much more believable. Read full story

Target: Deceive first, answer questions later

Issuing deceptive statements is no way to win back customers' trust. That's a lesson for anyone who might find itself in Target's position someday. Read full story

Target's 'We've Been Breached' sale is a little cynicism for the holidays

A sale, right before Christmas? What an extraordinary step for a retailer to take! And that hefty 10% off is available to everyone. Target's millions of breach victims must be feeling very special. Read full story

Instagram Direct: Your data, direct to marketers

Instagram is going to let you send messages and images to small subsets of your friends and family. It's a clever way to get more of your data into the hands of marketers. Read full story