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Shops secretly track customers via mobile phone

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posted on May, 18 2008 @ 04:26 PM
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Shops secretly track customers via mobile phone


technology.timesonline.co.uk

The surveillance mechanism works by monitoring the signals produced by mobile handsets and then locating the phone by triangulation – measuring the phone’s distance from three receivers.

A shopping mall could, for example, find out that 10,000 people were still in the store at 6pm, helping to make a case for longer opening hours, or that a majority of customers who visited Gap also went to Next, which could useful for marketing purposes.

(visit the link for the full news article)




posted on May, 18 2008 @ 04:26 PM
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This seems relatively benign at this point, but as some have noted, combined with other technologies, this could turn into a real privacy nightmare.

I don't really mind that businesses want to track consumer patterns, but in this case there doesn't seem to be anything in the way of informed consent, except as is noted in the article.

When I lived in New Orleans, it was not unusual for film crews to be in all sorts of places filming the public for various reasons, but in each case, there were signs telling people that if they ventured past a certain point, they would be filmed. Detours were provided.

In this case, a person's equipment and person are being used to generate information for profit and it should be that a person has a right to decide whether he wants to be a participant or not. If one knows in advance that such technology is in use, he can turn off his phone or shop elsewhere.

In either case, the consumer is being inconvenienced if he chooses not to participate in that he has to go elsewhere or disable his personal property.

So beyond any privacy issues, which seem minimal at this point, why should the XYZ mall be allowed to monitor my property for their personal gain, without some remuneration for such?

I don't mind a store or mall gathering data to improve my experience. I've participated in surveys before, but in such a case, I know what's going on and can bail out at anytime if I become uncomfortable, besides having given my permission up front.

I keep my phone's GPS tracking on all the time and that doesn't bother me. There is a direct benefit for me in doing so and I can opt out any time.

My phone checks in with towers all the time, like the article states, but I can turn my phone off, if I want, but again having the phone check in with the tower has a direct benefit for me in most cases.

This new technology has no direct benefit for me in that I have no control over how it is used or even if it is used. The data is gathered from my personal device, which I pay for, but third parties who monitor my phone offer no financial incentive for me to participate.

I believe that most of my complaints can be alleviated by legislation if this technology comes to the US, but we should all be aware of this trend so that we can express our concern.

technology.timesonline.co.uk
(visit the link for the full news article)



posted on May, 18 2008 @ 04:47 PM
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reply to post by GradyPhilpott
 


Grady, I read somewhere (forgot where, exactly) that cell phones can also be hacked to listen in to ambient noise around them....even when turned off!

The battery has to be removed to disable this feature...anyone else hear of this?



posted on May, 18 2008 @ 05:20 PM
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Here's a story about this technique.

www.schneier.com...

There's more here, but it seems that this is a technique that is authorized for law enforcement only and is not used by businesses or even private detectives.

This is the kind of thing I would not worry about, unless I were engaged in some sort of illegal activity and even then I doubt this is a technique used except in unusual cases.

www.news.com...

Of course, if this is a concern, there is always the option of removing the battery, which is no big deal.


[edit on 2008/5/18 by GradyPhilpott]



posted on May, 18 2008 @ 05:31 PM
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The FBI appears to have begun using a novel form of electronic surveillance in criminal investigations: remotely activating a mobile phone's microphone and using it to eavesdrop on nearby conversations.


the article is here: www.news.com...

I also read that some government buildings (I think it was a foreign govenment) was concerned about visitors/employees having cell phones on them as it could be a security risk.

Plus I believe the signals can be tracked all over too (if you perhaps did not want to be located in a certain place), and taking the battery out stops the transmission. They find murder victims based on their cell phone signals sometimes, and making a call would definitely leave a record of your position.



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