The secret tracking of individuals is taking place after Westfield signed a long term deal with recently listed Company Skyfi.
This is a Company that offers free Wi Fi in shopping centres and then secretly tracks the stores that consumers have visited. The data is then given to Skifi partners.
The Company who is using sophisticated data capture technology tracks consumers using the shopping malls picking up their shopping behaviour, internet and social media use in real time.
They are also able to track how much a consumer has spent in stores and the websites they have browsed while shopping.
It then sends marketing messages and direct email offers on behalf of stores, and provides feedback to shopping centres and retailers in an effort to encourage them to spend more.
When consumers register for and access Skyfii's free Wi-Fi service, the company tracks their shopping behaviour, internet and social media use in real time.
For example if a consumer visits a Harvey Norman store to look for a TV and while there looks up the price of the same TV online the consumer is then sent a discount certificate to shop in another store.
They also capture the time that, that consumer has spent in a Harvey Norman store.
It uses this data to send marketing messages and direct email offers on behalf of stores, and provides feedback to shopping centres and retailers on ways to attract and retain these customers and encourage them to spend more.
Visitors who shop in Westfield stores are being advised to either not log onto the free Wi Fi network or shop at centres that don't have Skyfi technology installed.
The technology is believed to be already operational at 20 Westfield shopping centres, as well as the MLC Centre in Sydney.
Other Sydney shopping centres where consumers are being tracked include the Queen Victoria Building and the Strand Arcade, Galeries Victoria, Chifley Plaza, World Square, Market City and the Rouse Hill Town Centre in Sydney.
The service is also offered at Victorian Westfield centres including Southland and Geelong, with Fountain Gate expected to be connected this year.
Fairfax Media said that Skyfi chief executive Wayne Arthur, is a former advertising executive with EYE Corp and Titan Media Group, says revenue from data analysis and consulting services to big retailers and shopping centres will soon exceed the revenue the company gets from supplying Wi-Fi services.
"There's a lot of data out there that these companies have access to but most of them don't know what to do with it and don't have a use case for it," Mr Arthur said.
He echoed the views of AT Kearney analytics expert Ian St-Maurice, who told Fairfax Media last week that 75-90 per cent of companies were dissatisfied with returns on their investment in data analytics.