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Privacy Patents

Pay-For-Visit Advertising 176

Posted by kdawson
from the maybe-the-fbi-will-have-to-pay-royalties dept.
theodp writes "US patent office documents released Thursday show that a startup named Pelago is seeking a patent covering Pay-For-Visit Advertising, which uses GPS, Bluetooth, or RFID on your mobile devices to track your travels to see if you wander into a place of business that appeared in an ad shown earlier on your cellphone, PDA, or laptop. To maximize ad revenue, phone calls are also tracked to see if you dial a number associated with an ad, and financial transactions are examined to see if you make a purchase from an advertiser. The application goes on to note that the system may be of interest to government agencies. Pelago just raised $7.4M from the likes of KPCB and Jeff Bezos."
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Pay-For-Visit Advertising

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  • no thanks (Score:5, Insightful)

    by stoolpigeon (454276) * <bittercode@gmail> on Thursday August 09, 2007 @10:13AM (#20170097) Homepage Journal
    i've got to think that this will create a market for phones that wont allow this kind of thing to happen. i'd go without a cell phone before i'd let myself be tracked like that everywhere i go.
    • Re:no thanks (Score:4, Interesting)

      by jellomizer (103300) * on Thursday August 09, 2007 @10:26AM (#20170293)
      Oh and you shouldn't use a credit, debit card or checks for any of your transactions, forget about Buying stuff online or mail order.

      Back in them olden days when we went to the corner store Bob behind the counter knew what your spending habbits were and gave you options on what was new and good, and if Bob was a bit chatty half the town would know your spending habbits. We acuatlly have far more privacy per day. You are being tacked as a number and that number is rairly connected to you personally. So the whole town doesn't know your spending habbits just some guys from xyz knows that 9384123223 likes to buy keyboards, or is in a market for keyboards. Don't expect the governement to get it right if they cant realize when you put in a change of address for a new license and they will not send you notices that your registration is out of date to the new address I doubt they can figure anything else about you.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Lockejaw (955650)

        You are being tacked as a number and that number is rairly connected to you personally.

        Nope, just to my shipping info... but that includes my name. Then that info is available to anyone willing to pay for it. And then the credit card company sees where all my payments go and can sell that data.
        Seriously, if you want anonymity, buy stuff at a brick-and-mortar store, and pay cash. The whole town doesn't know your spending habits. There's just some guy at xyz who knows that tall skinny guy with graying hair

        • by cayenne8 (626475)
          "Seriously, if you want anonymity, buy stuff at a brick-and-mortar store, and pay cash. "

          I dunno.

          Can't you get one use credit cards to use? Hard to trace. Set yourself up a PO box, at a place that you can send things to....where they use 'Suite' No. instead of box number, so that it looks like a street address and companies will deliver there.

          Those things don't make you impossible to trace, but, should make it a bit more difficult...at least for the way they collect mass data these days.

          • by rfunches (800928)

            Set yourself up a PO box, at a place that you can send things to....where they use 'Suite' No. instead of box number, so that it looks like a street address and companies will deliver there.
            You need to get a PMB where the business doesn't collect your personal information. A true PO box here in the US (at an actual post office) would require providing a verifiable name and address, and you have to present two types of ID, including one with a photograph.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Mr. No Skills (591753)

          Seriously, if you want anonymity, buy stuff at a brick-and-mortar store, and pay cash.

          I think the point of concern with some is that even this will stop working if you carry a cell phone with you. They watch you coming in and going through the checkout line even if you pay in cash.

        • by multisync (218450)

          There's just some guy at xyz who knows that tall skinny guy with graying hair bought a lot of cereal half an hour ago.


          Plus a grainy, poorly-lit, black-and-white surveillance video that'll end up on America's Most Wanted.
      • lmao.. it's also ironic that if you click on his home page, he lists where he and his family were going to be in July..
        • by multisync (218450)

          it's also ironic that if you click on his home page, he lists where he and his family were going to be in July

          You've hit the nail precicely on the head. No need for cel phones to track you, we'll just check your blog, or your Myspace, or your Facebook. People will react with outrage to something like this, all-the-while spewing out private information.

          This [hopenumbersix.net] is Steve Rambam's take on privacy, lot's of fun if you haven't already listened to it.

          • The difference is between information being given as opposed to collected. Imagine meeting someone at a party and telling them where you live, your interests and other stuff like that. That would be pretty normal. On the other hand, if someone I had never met, walked up to me at a party and started telling me all kinds of things they knew because they had been following me for a few weeks - it would freak me out.

            As the post mentioned, my blog has a lot of info. on our recent trip. I thought a lo
            • by multisync (218450)
              You are not alone feeling that way, judging from the number of people I know who use facebook etc, and post all manner of personal information. I also note how quickly people's phone numbers roll off their tongue when asked by random store clerks.

              Personally, I'm a bit more guarded, but I can take these things too far, I admit.

              If you follow the link in my last post, the person giving the talk - a skip tracer/pi, I guess you would call him - demonstrates what kind of information a person could legally obtain
              • My point wasn't to criticize you,
                I didn't take it that way, but thank you.

                I always tell clerks at stores no when they ask for my number. But the bottom line is for me, I make my living by being visible. People send checks to my home that pay my salary. I need a certain level of exposure. At the same time, I'm not going to carry a phone that sold my every move, if I could help it.

                I used to work as a dba/programmer for a collection agency. so I know a bit about skip tracing. I've played
        • There are things that I want and need people to know. My lifestyle, that I have chosen, necessitates that to some degree. As long as I have a decent degree of control in that regard I'm cool with it. I think about it a lot and try to make the best choices that I can.

          I don't want complete anonymity. I don't mind targeted advertising (I've found some neat things that way). But I'm not going to pay for a service that tracks this information constantly, and gives it to the highest bidder. Maybe I'
      • Don't expect the governement to get it right if they cant realize when you put in a change of address for a new license and they will not send you notices that your registration is out of date to the new address I doubt they can figure anything else about you.

        I wouldn't jump to that conclusion so quickly - it's in the government's best interests that your registration expire, so that you can fund police with the ticket fee. Now if the IRS lost track of you so easily, I might be able to jump to that conclusion.

    • Given the recent announcement of the google ad-based cell phone, I think I know where this could get a foothold. So, for now it will be opt-in (for those who didn't want to pay for cell service), until it catches on and spy-free phones are the minority.
  • by PoliTech (998983) on Thursday August 09, 2007 @10:15AM (#20170113) Homepage Journal
    I really dont want to carry all those gadgets around, especially at the beach. So if you could just inject that RFID tag into my neck right here...
  • Data bill (Score:2, Insightful)

    cell phones and pda uses may end have to pay the data bill for ads that they may not even want and how many people will want to waste there battery's on Bluetooth for this?
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Your spelling and grammar are so bad that I think it gave me cancer.

      "Cell phones and PDA users may end up having to pay the data bill for ads that they may not even want, and how many people will want to waste their batteries on Bluetooth for this?
  • by ricebowl (999467) on Thursday August 09, 2007 @10:16AM (#20170125)

    From reading the synopsis it seems that it would require the participation/consent of the mobile phone user to allow tracking. From activating bluetooth visibility, or accepting a phone with an RFID feature. It'd be interesting to see if this has any similarity to the oft-rumoured GPhone.

    But why would a consumer, given the relatively low prices of cell phones, tariffs and contracts, accept this? I'm speaking from the UK but I can't imagine that US cell contracts, etc, are so prohibitively expensive that this would be an attractive form of subsidy. Especially given the potential 'government interest.'

    • From reading the synopsis it seems that it would require the participation/consent of the mobile phone user to allow tracking

      FWIW, this tracking is enabled by default in virtually every phone that has the capabiliity of being commercially tracked. The phone user has to recognize that it is enabled and then go through the menus to turn it off. Not a hard thing to do, but like most things, something that is largely overlooked by the masses.

    • For the time being it's voluntarily/consent based. How long 'til blocking ads becomes illegal because it deprives those pages dependent on ad income from revenue, and how long 'til you must not block your phone to inform the ad company how well their ads work because of the need of transparency in business?

      Impossible? You might remember the motion that it should be illegal to FF through ads in movies. And you might have noticed that some DVD players don't let you skip ads, previews and other nuisances.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by BUL2294 (1081735)

        And you might have noticed that some DVD players don't let you skip ads, previews and other nuisances.

        It's not that the DVD players don't let you skip these nuisances, it's that the chapter/title/whatever tells the DVD player to not let you skip them. There are valid reasons why you shouldn't be allowed to skip chapters on some DVDs (i.e. a DVD-video based game played on your TV, or an educational DVD that tests you and your answers determine the next question, etc.) but, IMHO, no DVD movie that you paid $

        • Those are valid reasons for me not being allowed to do something I want with the hardware I own? Sorry, but they are not. I can see that those are functions that you would want in a machine used for the purpose of testing, but when the day ends, the owner of the box has to have the right to make it do whatever he wants (within the reasonable limits of the machine, no reason to demand a latte from your DVD player...).

          Generally, the owner and only the owner of the machine has to dictate what features the mach
    • by Lockejaw (955650)

      But why would a consumer, given the relatively low prices of cell phones, tariffs and contracts, accept this?
      If nobody offers plans without this, the only way to get a cell plan is to accept this.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Pragmatix (688158)
      Why would someone participate in this?

      Let's say you went to the mall, and you were looking for some Christmas gifts. You phone has a neat little feature called 'Instant Discount'. If you turn it on while shopping, it will feed you coupons and specials from the various stores as you walk around. So you pass a Banana Republic and see a coupon for 25$ off on a pair of pants.

      You duck in, get some pants, save some cash. The store gets a sale they might not have had. Whoever runs the ad service gets a little

    • by ceoyoyo (59147)
      I suspect it's aimed at kids. Hey kids, here's a free cell phone!
      • Yes, and we know how well that [wikipedia.org] business model worked out.
        • by ceoyoyo (59147)
          Ah, but they still required their subscribers to PAY for their airtime. An ad supported phone has the advantage that you don't have to go chasing after your customers to get them to pay their bills.
  • So basically... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by shakingbrave (1136495)
    They are going to track who I call, where I go, and what I buy...while having all of this linked to personally identifying information. Who in their right mind would subscribe to such a service? The privacy implications are mind boggling...if the police can subpena this information or the government can "silently" access it, say goodbye to the American way of life...
    • Re:So basically... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by DogDude (805747) on Thursday August 09, 2007 @10:21AM (#20170211) Homepage
      The privacy implications are mind boggling

      The privacy implications of a phone that reports back to ad agencies isn't nearly as mind boggling as the Fed's new law that says all US/international communications can be bugged with no search warrant needed. The American way of life is already long gone. The problem is that nobody seems to care.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by eln (21727) *

      if the police can subpena this information or the government can "silently" access it, say goodbye to the American way of life...
      I thought that WAS the American way of life. We are living in a post-9/11 world, after all.
      • by PitaBred (632671)
        Which means we should all clamor for bigger government protecting us from the boogeyman, that was created from the government's asinine foreign policy decisions? It's time we just get rid of the "elite" politicians in general and start from a clean slate. We had a good thing going for about 200 years, we could do it again.
    • Personally I'm more worried about what various companies will do with the info, than the government.

      Also, think about the false positives on matches - artificially inflating prcies for places using those advertisers.

      I just hope capitalism "works" as it is supposed to, and this marketing idea flops, when it ends up costing more than other methods, for a similar amount of return.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by ArcadeX (866171)
      Not saying i'm for this in any way, but if the phone were provided free, and the add company paid for the phone / service via the adds, I could see older people on budgets, or broke teens not having a problem trading freedoms for services.
      • Older people? I highly doubt that. As long as it's shiny and cool and can play their music wherever they go, it'll be the kids and 20-somethings that are all over this...
    • "Here! Free cell with your new contract! And 1000 text messages free on top of it! And that's not all, you get 100 local calls or 100 local minutes, whatever is MORE (not less. MORE!)."

      "No, no need to read the fine print. It's just that you report back when you buy some crap. But hey, you don't pay for that reporting call, don't worry!"
    • ...why corporate America has more rights to my personal information than I do.

  • what a crock (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    most of the places I got to, I got to via personal recommendation.

    Not to mention, that would require a corporate agency tracking my every move. I'll just put it this way:
    If you don't trust the government, ostensibly supposed to be for the benefit of the people living in its juristiction, watching your every move, how the hell can you trust a corporation, ostensibly (and in practice) supposed to be for the financial and power gain of those in cahrge of the company, to keep track of you to that extent?
  • Gasp! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jellomizer (103300) * on Thursday August 09, 2007 @10:18AM (#20170151)
    Companies are trying to evaulate to see if their marketing is working or not. How dare they, I want to be flooded with adds that I don't care about, vs. showing me products and or services that may help me in life, with sites offering better tracking services they could charge more per add, thus less adds per page. But that is not the slashdot way, we want NO adds but still we want our websites to run for free even though these people deticate their lives full time to this and have expenses too. Good targeting means less adds, more revenue to web sites, and less anoyances during the day. If Big Brother wants to know your spending habbits they just need a warent and pull your bank information. No need for this crazy loosy goosy stuff, that will mostly help make your life better.
    • Too many false positives is the problem:

      I buy online from newegg all the time, and buy.com frequently. I got these from recommendations from friends and associates, not advertisements. In fact, I didn't see an ad for either for over a year after I started using them.

      I go to the local microcenter also - not because of adds, but because I'm in a hurry, and it's where my dad went and I knew about it.

      The list could be very long, but the vast majority of where I go, and what services I use are from recommendatio
      • But you just spreaded word of mouth adverting for thoses sites. So what you just did was give people more confidence in buying products from this site figueing that if you got a good deal so can they. And you went to the site because of word of mouth. But what about those people who told you perhaps they saw an add on favorate search tool and clicked on it. If one Add gets some attention and spreads Word of Mouth then it may be worth the false positives. Just for the sake if you bought something form X.c
        • That logic only works if they advertised with only one agency, ever.

          Otherwise there's a lot of false positives for any given agency.
    • If Big Brother wants to know your spending habbits they just need a warent and pull your bank information.

      Hah, the jokes on you. The only withdrawals I make from the bank are to pay for housing/utilities/ATMs/Credit Cards. Now, if they pulled my Visa bill...

      • The joke is back to you.... Your Visa bill is processed threw a bank. It may not be the same bank wich you have your savings account but it is still a bank.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Penguinisto (415985)

      But that is not the slashdot way, we want NO adds but still we want our websites to run for free even though these people deticate their lives full time to this and have expenses too. Good targeting means less adds, more revenue to web sites, and less anoyances during the day.

      Okay... here's some small tips that may help:

      • If a website or other media delivery vehicle tends to specialize (e.g. /. tends to specialize in IT and geek pr0n), you tailor your advertisements to your primary market. If I go to a 3d/CG hobbyist art website, I expect to see ads for the likes of Poser, Bryce, DAZ, etc, with maybe some low-end Maya, 3DS Max and such thrown in. I don't expect to see mortgage ads in either place. (If I do, then obviously the site owner is operating sans clue, which almost su
    • by riceboy50 (631755)

      with sites offering better tracking services they could charge more per add, thus less adds per page
      They could reduce the number of ads per page, but that is not likely to happen. The companies I've seen will move the higher profit from each unit straight to the bottom line—and probably consider adding even more units to increase profit further.
    • by msimm (580077)
      And I trust them absolutely not to abuse or misuse this technology. Because they never have in the past...


      I'm sure you'll enjoy your new improved location-specific viagra/trans-sexual/diet-pill/stock tips. Because the greater the volume of targeted data available on you the more responsible advertisers will become. Naturally.
    • by misleb (129952)

      Companies are trying to evaulate to see if their marketing is working or not. How dare they, I want to be flooded with adds that I don't care about, vs. showing me products and or services that may help me in life

      False dichotomy. How about no ads at all? Nah, forget it. Somebody needs to be a sucker and accept the ads and leave the blocking to those who actually care about taking control over what they view and how they view it. Let sites make money off of fools who think they are somehow obligated to acc

    • Good targeting means less adds


                o.O

      BUWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!

  • It begins (Score:2, Funny)

    by MarcoG42 (1087205)
    I've never been one of the people that sports a tinfoil hat, and now I can't because they'll know when I go to the store, what I bought, how much I payed for it and what I was thinking when I bought it.
  • by crovira (10242) on Thursday August 09, 2007 @10:19AM (#20170183) Homepage
    without my knowledge of who, what or where, just by going to work everyday.

    1. Set up a surveillance society,
    2. Watch everybody all the time,
    3. ???
    4. Profit

    Steps 1 & 2 are already happening whether we want them to or not. Its a done deal.

    But the greedy little prick wants to patent it too.

    God I wish I had balls that big.
  • not to have a cell phone. Whenever anyone asks why I don't have a phone, my standard answer is:

    "Don't need one, don't want one. Besides, why would I want people to be able to track where I am?"
  • "...uses GPS, Bluetooth, or RFID on your mobile devices to track your travels to see if you wander into a place of business that appeared in an ad shown earlier on your cellphone, PDA, or laptop.

    Wow! I thought big brother was a problem. Now we have to watch out for big business too.

  • that cell phone hacking will be the next big wave. Of course, this will start a whole new round of DCMA shenanigans and the chase will be on between the phone companies and their customers. Bad consumer, bad!!
  • 1. Employees of a company all visit the ad of a competitor on their cellphones
    2. They put all their cell phones in a box
    3. A gopher takes the box of phones to the competitor's store, loiters for a few minutes, and comes back
    4. UNprofit for the competitor as the pay-for-visit system deducts a bunch of money from the competitor's ad account

    OK, its not very scalable, but it is amusing and will happen.
    • Ohhh... I can so see flashmobs for this. I mean, sure, flashmobs ain't really in fashion anymore, but I can smell a revival.
  • Well, I guess that question wouldn't matter for a less invasive advertising platform, but what this seems to be proposing is currently impossible without the customer's explicit agreement and cooperation. So I'm wondering what they plan on giving the customer to make this ever remotely appealing?
    • by Renraku (518261)
      Three free ringtones of your choice, some limitations apply, requires activation of special ringtone account for $40/month and minimum contract of two months.

      Believe me, people will be all over it..as far as they see it, they are losing nothing but are gaining three free ringtones. All they have to do is remember to cancel their subscription to that special ringtone service after two months.

      $40 in 30 days is $0 right now to most people. Its one reason everyone's so in debt.
    • E911 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E911) already tracks you when you are in the US... sorry....
  • by klingens (147173) on Thursday August 09, 2007 @10:34AM (#20170421)
    What allows them to access my cellphone remotely and access its GPS receiver? Why would my cellphone tell them the GPS location in the first place?
    Are there really phones on the market which allow this? If so, what prevents evil terrorist(tm) to do the same as this company then? Are phonemakers terrorism supporters?!one!?eleven!
    • Are there really phones on the market which allow this?

      Sure - Disney and lots of smaller outfits have phones that do exactly that - so that parents can track their kids' whereabouts at all times, remotely.

      Kinda creepy that corporations want to treat adults in the same manner, ne?

      /P

    • It's the "E911" stuff. Many new phones have at least some software for responding to cell towers (and sometimes even limited GPS ability) and this information is sent to the cell network, which can get reasonably precise location from triangulation and such among cell towers. See here [wikipedia.org] and here [gpsworld.com].

      My Verizon Treo 650 came with the default of transmitting its location data all the time [findlaw.com]. Fortunately, there was a (somewhat buried) option to turn it to "911 only". Of course, if you read the above link, you'll see

  • by apodyopsis (1048476) on Thursday August 09, 2007 @10:35AM (#20170429)
    let me be the first to say "Good afternoon, Mr. Yakamoto,".

    http://curtismorley.com/2007/02/06/minority-report -and-mini-cooper/ [curtismorley.com]

    Personalized advertising just jumped out of the cookie jar (no, get your mind off the choc chips lardy, I'm talking browsers here) and into the real world. Somehow the idea of large corporations tracking me makes me feel a great unease, we can trust them to value money over common decency and politeness.
  • Marketers will be able to find out just how effective their ads are. When the answer turns out to be "not at all", they'll all lose their jobs, and we'll live in an advertising-free world.

    (And while I'm dreaming, I'd like a free moon pony.)
  • Being a grumpy old git there are many businesses whose crappy advertising annoys me. With this new system i can write a script to hit all their websites 50 times a day and it will then cost them money every time i walk past their outlet. I may even go into the shop to say 'muahahahaha, pwned'
    • Being a grumpy old git there are many businesses whose crappy advertising annoys me. With this new system i can write a script to hit all their websites 50 times a day and it will then cost them money every time i walk past their outlet. I may even go into the shop to say 'muahahahaha, pwned'

      Why stop at 50? w/ an unlimited data plan and an appetite for walking-as-exercise, I can blast out thousands of hits per minute that get read by /dev/null as I stroll around downtown... a bicycle and a portable charger can increase the damage almost exponentially.

      (besides, it'd be kinda funny to watch some market-prioritied corporation actually pay someone to let me use their bathroom or something w/o buying a thing. Plus, I can use it as a guide to which stores I'd rather avoid spending money at. :) )

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Has anyone else noticed the disturbing [to me, anyway] trend towards actions being illegal if performed by a private individual, but legally acceptable if performed by a corporation, for profit?
  • it sounds to me like an invasion of privacy. They are using tech to track where you are and what you just watched or saw. This just sounds so intrusive, I think I'm going to be sick.
    • I think I'm going to be sick.

      You just took a trip to your doctor. Would you like to buy some pharmacy online?
  • by fallen1 (230220) on Thursday August 09, 2007 @11:15AM (#20171053) Homepage
    Fuck. You.
    • Fuck. You.

      You left off "In the ass. With a hog de-bunger." In case you're wondering what that is, imagine something that looks like a cross between a jackhammer and and a fence post digger that removes the anus from pig carcasses in meat packing operations. I know someone who did some design work on them early in his career. He keeps a display model around in preparation for when his daughters start dating. You know, something to use as a conversation piece with the boyfriend while she's still getting ready.

  • Wunderbar (Score:3, Funny)

    by Cleon (471197) <cleon42@@@yahoo...com> on Thursday August 09, 2007 @11:40AM (#20171439) Homepage
    Oh, yay. Yet another way for big business to keep track of places we go, the food we eat, the air we breathe.

    It's only a matter of time before toilets start detecting our DNA in order to show us targeted ads on the the stall door while we take a shit.
  • And in other news, the government has announced a program that is able to predict murders before they occur, and identifies the culprit who can be arrested before committing the crime.

  • The NSA, et al, have been doing this sort of tracking and collating for years. Think of it as a lost opportunity: the NSA could have been selling ads all this time!

    (straightening my tinfoil hat)

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