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Malls Track Shoppers' Cell Phones On Black Friday 198

Posted by samzenpus
from the unseen-mechanized-eye dept.
antdude writes in with a story about two U.S. malls that plan on tracking shoppers' movements by monitoring the signals from their cell phones this Friday. "The management company of both malls, Forest City Commercial Management, says personal data is not being tracked. 'We won't be looking at singular shoppers,' said Stephanie Shriver-Engdahl, vice president of digital strategy for Forest City. 'The system monitors patterns of movement. We can see, like migrating birds, where people are going to.' Still, the company is preemptively notifying customers by hanging small signs around the shopping centers. Consumers can opt out by turning off their phones."
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Malls Track Shoppers' Cell Phones On Black Friday

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  • Opt out (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Elgonn (921934) on Wednesday November 23, 2011 @05:07PM (#38152404)
    "Consumers can opt out by turning off their phones."
    I guess by that metric people who don't go there are also opting out.
    • Re:Opt out (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Robert Bowles (2733) on Wednesday November 23, 2011 @05:23PM (#38152578)

      Suppose you root through people's trash and search for financial information. As long as you promise not to use it to single anyone out, its not malevolent. Anyone who doesn't like it can "opt-out" by keeping the trash in their house.

    • Re:Opt out (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Fluffeh (1273756) on Wednesday November 23, 2011 @06:26PM (#38153298)

      Well, at least you chaps over in the US aren't alone. I submitted a story about six weeks ago [slashdot.org] about two malls in Australia that were using the exact same technology. It made the local papers here [news.com.au], but never prominently.

      It's okay, soon, we will forget about it and given that other countries are also doing it, we will accept it as the norm.

      *sips coffee*

      • CNN did cover it over here. They even brought up a point that they could track you wandering into Victoria's Secret and record how long you were in there.

        I wish they had been less up-beat about it but the fact that it was even covered is ... well.. better than nothing.

    • by symbolset (646467) *

      Of course, if you turn off your phone you can't check prices and reviews online, can you?

      May as well just go online in the first place and avoid the pushy crowds.

    • ...to read the notice saying you will be tracked if you do not leave or turn off your phone, do you have to enter an area where you are already being tracked ...?

  • opt out (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nitehawk214 (222219) on Wednesday November 23, 2011 @05:07PM (#38152410)

    >Consumers can opt out by turning off their phones.

    I can opt out of billboards by not driving and staying at home. I can opt out of spam by not having an email account.

    opt out, I don't think those words mean what you think they mean.

    • Re:opt out (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 23, 2011 @05:42PM (#38152780)

      I can "opt out" by telling the retails to go fuck themselves.

      In fact, I think I'll call a few of them right now and tell them why they just lost customers. I can "opt out" by taking my business elsewhere.

      • Re:opt out (Score:5, Insightful)

        by newcastlejon (1483695) on Wednesday November 23, 2011 @06:42PM (#38153432)
        I suggest you call your friends first and then the mall; boycotting is pointless if one is the only person doing it.
      • by mdm42 (244204)
        Sure, you can just take your business elsewhere. To the next mall that doesn't do this tracking shit. Where you'll be able to buy stuff from... uhhhhh... exactly the same chains as the other mall.

        Not sure they'll get the message...

  • Jammers? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MrQuacker (1938262) on Wednesday November 23, 2011 @05:10PM (#38152446)

    What will happen if you walk around with a jammer in your pocket/bag?

    • by AdamJS (2466928)

      Well, they're illegal, so...

      Would be pretty god damned funny though.

    • Re:Jammers? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Penguinisto (415985) on Wednesday November 23, 2011 @07:06PM (#38153672) Journal

      Jammer? Hell, I was curious to see what would happen if I swapped out the SIM card from the phone every time I walk into a different store, or perhaps at random? Gather the whole family's pile o' SIMs, and maybe a couple of expired ones (they still work for emergency calls, so odds are good their signal will pick up).

      I figure if enough folks did that in one mall (say, 100-200 people?), the algorithms would show enough crap data to basically have the management demanding their money back from the company that sold it to 'em.

      Even better... I wonder what would happen if you and enough cohorts went to the mall, selected some bits to buy at different stores, walked up to the counter, and proclaimed to the cashier that "this is what I would have bought if your mall wasn't so invasive of my privacy by tracking my cell signal", then walk out, leaving the goods on the counter unpaid-for.

      • by Greyfox (87712)
        A while back someone was talking about possibly making a "vampire" phone that would assume the identity of any phone that came near it. Which is a pretty neat idea, though I'm sure it'd cause all manner of chaos for a carrier, and probably draw more attention to you than most other means of remaining incognito.
      • Every phone has a unique IMEI that is broadcast along with the SIM card number. If they've done their homework, then they're tracking the IMEI as well as the SIM card.

        But even if one or two people did as you did, it would be meaningless noise in the sea of data.

    • by smitty97 (995791)

      Jammed... Raspberry! There's only one man who would dare give me the raspberry!

    • I can imagine on their monitors, a perfect circle of white among all the red dots indicating people's phones. Perhaps the people studying the screens will think it's some smelly homeless guy walking around the mall staring angrily at customers, and none of them want to be within 20 feet of you.

  • Not as abusive YET (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AdamJS (2466928) on Wednesday November 23, 2011 @05:11PM (#38152456)

    But some day soon, it will be.
    When there's a large enough pool of data on given subset of users "Anon" F through Q, analytical processes and programs will be able to determine when a member of said subset appears somewhere.

    Using inter-subset heuristics, this information could be refined further to detail the habits of the individuals, such as Anon M.

    While still technically "Anonymous", it would require a very, very small pool of data and additional research/tracking to determine who that Anonymous user actually is.

    The technology is almost (if not already) there, and the real setback at the moment is simply not having all of that data yet.

    • And then what? I read a lot of pro-privacy rants on Slashdot but haven't really heard any conclusive argument why these things are so bad. Let's say a marketing dept finds out how often I shop, sleep, piss, and wank. What is the worst possible case scenario they could do with that info? Let's say they read all my email, my web browsing habits and all my facebook posts what happens next that I need to be afraid of?
  • move (Score:5, Funny)

    by JustOK (667959) on Wednesday November 23, 2011 @05:14PM (#38152494) Journal

    We are tracking your movements. You can opt out by not moving.

  • by fahrbot-bot (874524) on Wednesday November 23, 2011 @05:16PM (#38152510)

    Still, the company is preemptively notifying customers by hanging small signs around the shopping centers. Consumers can opt out by turning off their phones.

    Ya, but the sign shown doesn't mention turning off your phone... Just to visit the Management Office or visit their website if you have questions. Of course, visiting the office will entail getting tracked. Also, I'm not sure how tracking our phones will help "enhance your shopping experience".

    • by kent_eh (543303) on Wednesday November 23, 2011 @05:23PM (#38152574)
      It will enhance the mall's experience of you shopping.
      Just like those "customer loyalty" thingies. Do you really thing they are for *your* benefit?

      They will use it to improve their ability to get money out of your pocket and into theirs.
      Why do I want to help them do that??
      • by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland@@@yahoo...com> on Wednesday November 23, 2011 @05:29PM (#38152636) Homepage Journal

        But the way they uses this information to get money is by offering things people want.

        Dude, they don't use it to grab money out of your wallet.
        They don't care about YOU. they care about the patterns of movement in the mall.
        Benefits to you:
        A) Better mall layout
        B) better crowd control
        C) Accurate information on shopping habits
        D) more stuff more people want.

        • by kent_eh (543303)
          And the purpose of all those "improvements"?
          To make it easier to spend money.
          And to make you and me feel better about spending more money.

          The end result is the same. Less money in my pocket. And I'm supposed to be happy about that.
          Just like a good little consumer should....
          • by B1oodAnge1 (1485419) on Wednesday November 23, 2011 @06:30PM (#38153326)

            The end result is the same. Less money in my pocket. And I'm supposed to be happy about that.

            To be fair, the end result is twofold: less money in your pocket and more "things" in your house.

            If you engage in a commercial transaction that does not provide added value to you, then you are entirely at fault.

            • If you engage in a commercial transaction that does not provide added value to you, then you are entirely at fault.

              I used to think that. But then I realised that if one entity is spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to influence you to make that decision, it isn't really fair any more. They aren't putting a gun to your head, but they are actively attempting to manipulate you using resources far beyond what you have access to and that's dirty pool.

              • Apple spends a shitton on marketing, and I have never bought an Apple product. Either I am a far stonger willed person than you, or marketing doesn't control me 100%. You decide.
                • Apple spends a shitton on marketing, and I have never bought an Apple product. Either I am a far stonger willed person than you, or marketing doesn't control me 100%. You decide.

                  Framing it as if it were an issue of being controlled 100% is just misdirection. The issue is that free markets are predicated on basis of both parties being fully informed. Marketing and other forms of manipulation explicitly seek to control how well informed the consumer is - such as requiring non-disclosures in settlements for defective products.

                  • The issue is that free markets are predicated on basis of both parties being fully informed. Marketing and other forms of manipulation explicitly seek to control how well informed the consumer is - such as requiring non-disclosures in settlements for defective products.

                    Only if you swallow the marketing guff. When I bought my TV, I went to the shop, looked at all the TVs, found one that did what I need it to do at a price I thought was fair and bought it. If it doesn't work I take it back and get my money back. That is the free market in action. I fail to see how any amount of marketing changes that?

                • If I hadn't already posted I'd mod you up. I also have never bought anything from Apple, or Sony, or any other major marketing force (Apart from maybe Coke). I consider myself immune to marketing. I go the shop with a list and buy what's on the list. There is no fear of marketing unless you doubt your own mental strength.
              • I don't understand how your decision to allow expensive marketing to influence you is in any way the fault of the people using the marketing. in fact, blaming marketing for the consumer's inability to objectively make decisions makes it seem like you're making excuses for being lazy.

                I'm confident that the resources available to an average consumer who wants to discern the truth behind a marketing campaign far exceeds the resources available to any company to control what they see.

                Now the government is certa

                • Like the other poster I think you are using the term "marketing" in far too narrow a sense, I've already mentioned NDA's for defective product settlements, but there are other forms of "marketing" like exclusivity agreements with vendors to artificially constrain consumer choice and secret kickbacks to salesmen (aka commissions like what happens with most mobile phone sales).

                  But yes I do blame marketers - they sure take the credit for increasing sales. Your belief that people choose to "allow" themselves

                  • In the real world there are practical limitations on consumers' ability to fully evaluate the marketplace and most marketing practices explicitly seek to pollute that process rather than improve it.

                    My point is that there are few , if any, limitations to consumers' ability to fully evaluate the marketplace, there are individual limits to consumers' desire to fully evaluate the marketplace.

                    In the "Real World" everyone is forced to live with the consequences of their decisions. Society does a great job sometimes of pretending that this isn't so, but it fails to change the underlying principle. This goes for underhanded marketers as well, if you're lying about your product don't be surprised when there's

                  • To paraphrase: "it is a crime to allow a fool to keep their money". There are far greater causes in this world than protecting the disposal income of suckers.
              • by exomondo (1725132)

                I used to think that. But then I realised that if one entity is spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to influence you to make that decision, it isn't really fair any more. They aren't putting a gun to your head, but they are actively attempting to manipulate you using resources far beyond what you have access to and that's dirty pool.

                Yes let's ban all marketing because people might be influenced by it. I suppose you're the sort of person who accepts that something is a great deal because the salesman told you so. There are laws to stop false advertising already, beyond that it's up to the consumer to make the decision.

                • I suppose you're the sort of person who accepts that something is a great deal because the salesman told you so.

                  No, actually I am pretty much the opposite of that. I am extremely skeptical and I like to think that I am a very savvy shopper. I never watch commercials on television and I adblock everywhere I go on the web. I'm really good at spotting astro-turf campaigns and other kinds of shills. I also know how to research the shit out a product.

                  But you know what I've discovered? It's fucking exhausting. It is not reasonable to expect regular people with regular lives to invest as much effort as I do to combat

                  • by exomondo (1725132)

                    No, actually I am pretty much the opposite of that. I am extremely skeptical and I like to think that I am a very savvy shopper. I never watch commercials on television and I adblock everywhere I go on the web.

                    Why? Because you might accidentally believe it?

                    It is not reasonable to expect regular people with regular lives to invest as much effort as I do to combat the pernicious influence of million dollar marketing budgets.

                    Why do you need to combat it? What specific cases are you talking about where you've been so influenced and found it difficult to fight against said influence?

                    In the ideal world that the free market concept is predicated on, being a fully informed consumer would be a reasonable option for everyone.

                    It is a reasonable option for everyone, but people aren't always right about everything all the time so mis-information will persist.

          • by blueg3 (192743)

            That's completely true, but keep in mind, they were going to do that anyway, one way or another.

          • by exomondo (1725132)

            And the purpose of all those "improvements"?
            To make it easier to spend money.
            And to make you and me feel better about spending more money.

            The end result is the same. Less money in my pocket. And I'm supposed to be happy about that.

            So just because they make it easier to spend money you're so weak-willed that you can't help but spend more money? Then you then go on to blame them because you've got no self-control and will do something purely because it's easy to do.

        • But the way they uses this information to get money is by offering things people want.

          Then why don't they just ask people what they want? Wouldn't the mall like to know that I miss the arcade and the toy store and those are two reasons I don't go to browse as often anymore?

      • by Stormthirst (66538) on Wednesday November 23, 2011 @06:05PM (#38153044)

        The difference between the loyalty thingy and this is that the loyalty thingy pays you a nominal amount. The amount you get paid varies from company to company, and usually you can only buy from that company. It's purely an opt-in process.

        This on the other hand gives you nothing - and it's opt out in the one of the most invasive ways. Most people carry phones because they want to be contactable.

      • by mccrew (62494)

        Do you really thing they are for *your* benefit?

        Yep. Whenever anything begins with the phrase "For Your Convenience" you can be damned sure that it's for their convenience, not yours.

        • by Attila Dimedici (1036002) on Wednesday November 23, 2011 @08:05PM (#38154132)
          That reminds me of something it took my wife the longest thing to figure out. When the grocery store near us introduced self-checkout, I refused to use them even when I only had one or two items. My wife could not understand why. I explained to her it was a matter of principle. When they introduced them, they started to run these announcements over the in store intercom about every five minutes that said something along the line of, "For your convenience, we now have self-checkout lanes." I knew full well that they did not put the self-checkout lanes in for my convenience. They put the self-checkout lanes in to save money on cashiers. Of course, it has turned out not to have worked out that way for them, as a recent article on slashdot mentioned (I wonder how much that has to do with their attempt to mislead their customers as to why they were doing it).
          • by Rich0 (548339)

            Until stores figure out how to use a bank teller queue I'll use those self-checkouts every time. Typically those have no line, or they use a bank-teller queue. That means that when I walk up to one I know exactly what kind of experience I'm going to have. Sure, maybe it takes a little longer if something goes wrong, but my time at the register is fairly predictable.

            If I queue up in the normal human line inevitably I end up behind the person who is convinced that the sign had a price 3 cents lower than wh

      • by blueg3 (192743)

        While the customer loyalty things often track your purchases (not to spy on you or other fell purposes, but for useful statistical data), that's not what they're "for". What they're *for* is manipulating your shopping patterns to create store loyalty, which, while it usually doesn't seem effective consciously, is actually pretty effective.

      • by russotto (537200)

        Just like those "customer loyalty" thingies. Do you really thing they are for *your* benefit?

        Theoretically it's a case of mutualism. You stick your proboscis in the nectar of discounts, and get the pollen of demographic information all over you.

      • They will use it to improve their ability to get money out of your pocket and into theirs. Why do I want to help them do that??

        The Force only works on the weak minded. Why worry?

  • Get used to it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by macwhizkid (864124) on Wednesday November 23, 2011 @05:17PM (#38152522)

    I'd be surprised if other large commercial destinations (malls, amusement parks, sporting venues, etc) aren't using this tech already. It's not like these two malls invented it themselves, and even if they're the first to use it, it must have been beta tested somewhere.

    I think we can agree that the "we won't be looking at singular shoppers" reassurance is completely ridiculous. As though there's some algorithm to digitally count the devices on a network and track their locations without, umm, actually counting them? The only question is how long the data is stored.

    At the same time, even opting out now is pointless, as we've established that the phone company, the police, and the FBI all have access to your phone's location tracking information. It's a bit late to worry about whether or not to use things like Apple's "Find My Friends" app. Best to avoid owning a cell phone altogether if you're worried about being tracked, or at least leave it behind (and turn it off) when you don't want to be followed.

    • by geekoid (135745)

      "I think we can agree that the "we won't be looking at singular shoppers" reassurance is completely ridiculous"

      why? YOUR movement is of little value, the groups movement habits is of great value.

      They don't care that you lingers in front of victory secrets* for 10 minutes.
      Yes, you count the signals, not who ti's tied to. What? you think they are cracking the signal to find out the Jane Doe bought shoes?

      *Victoria Secrets - Giving men a reason to go to the mall for 20 years.

      • why? YOUR movement is of little value, the groups movement habits is of great value.

        That depends on who you're asking, I suppose.

        What if trends show that you, at let's say 4 out of 5 visits to the mall, end up going to the Burger King after you're done shopping at, say, GAP.

        Wouldn't it be awfully nice, for Burger King that is, if you could be reminded about the new burger / free soda / two for one deal / whatever at Burger King when you exit GAP so that your 4 out of 5 statistic can be bumped up to, maybe,

        • Wouldn't it be awfully nice, for Burger King that is, if you could be reminded about the new burger / free soda / two for one deal / whatever at Burger King when you exit GAP so that your 4 out of 5 statistic can be bumped up to, maybe, 9 out of 10?

          No, actually it wouldn't. It would be god damn annoying. But then I don't shop at the places I am told to, I shop at the places I want to; and I only buy things when I want / need them, not when they are "OMG ON SALE BUY NOW!".

        • Either way, it's interesting information to have on individuals.

          Yes. It is fundamentally naive to think that given the choice, marketers will turn down the option to collect more information on potential customers. Once that information is collected it is ripe for abuse - by the marketers, by their disgruntled employees and by the government.

      • by JustNilt (984644)

        *Victoria Secrets - Giving men a reason to go to the mall for 20 years.

        OT here:

        Heck with men. My 8 year old stepson walked by one and said, "Let's go in THERE!" Yeah, we're going to have fun with this kid, I tell ya. =D

        • by Raenex (947668)

          Yeah, we're going to have fun with this kid

          You going to show him some porn and then take him to the whorehouse? Eh, don't answer. I really don't want to know.

    • Many commercial free wifi services do similar tracking and even eavesdrop on the data passing through them (although of those with disclaimer portal pages, none have mentioned this). I always thought it was odd that so many of them run full-blown Windows...

      http://www.deloitte.com/view/en_GX/global/industries/technology-media-telecommunications/tmt-predictions-2011/telecommunications/16629ece1407d210VgnVCM2000001b56f00aRCRD.htm [deloitte.com]

  • Anonymous? So Far... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by zentec (204030) * <zentecNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday November 23, 2011 @05:17PM (#38152526)

    TFA:

    "The tracking system, called FootPath Technology, works through a series of antennas positioned throughout the shopping center that capture the unique identification number assigned to each phone (similar to a computer's IP address), and tracks its movement throughout the stores. ... And it doesn't collect any personal details associated with the ID, like the user's name or phone number. That information is fiercely protected by mobile carriers, and often can be legally obtained only through a court order. "

    Yet. You can bet your sweet bippy that while the mall can't get the identifying information, the mall *will* sell it to the carriers who do have the information. This would be a marketing goldmine for the carriers, and one they could not help but to exploit for fun and most importantly, profit.

    I would opt out by simply not shopping at that mall. My cellular phone is for my own convenience and one that I pay to maintain, it isn't so companies can figure out where I shop and give them incentive to try to get me to be a good little consumer and spend all my money.

    My tolerance for this kind of thing is getting lower each time I read stories like this. More and more, companies seem to view the public as sheep to be shorn without any expectation of privacy, rights nor recourse.

    • by geekoid (135745)

      wtf are you talking about? the phone company can get the information already, AND they don't give a shit what you buy.

      This is like the crazy phone company conspiracy of the 70s.
      They collect th data, and make the mall experience better. How the FUCK is the sheering sheep?

      • by digitig (1056110)

        wtf are you talking about? the phone company can get the information already, AND they don't give a shit what you buy.

        They might be interested if you spend a lot of time in rival phone companies' stores.

    • by exomondo (1725132)

      My cellular phone is for my own convenience and one that I pay to maintain, it isn't so companies can figure out where I shop and give them incentive to try to get me to be a good little consumer and spend all my money.

      No-one is forcing you to spend money, show a little self-control. And if you don't want to be 'tracked' get a pre-paid SIM (get someone else to buy it for you if you're really paranoid) and put it in an outright-purchased phone.

      If you don't want to be tracked then don't broadcast personally identifiable information, simple.

    • Give your girlfriend your phone for the day.

      Even if they do end up using your data for marketing, you'll have details of things your girlfriend has shown an interest in sent right to your phone.

      And, because you like sex, you'll buy them.
  • ...would be to turn around and walk back out of the mall in question, then go shop somewhere else that better respects your privacy rights.
  • Newfangled Shopping (Score:4, Interesting)

    by retroworks (652802) on Wednesday November 23, 2011 @05:26PM (#38152600) Homepage Journal
    Back in the day, the malls had a person with a thumb-clicker counting people as they walked through doors. I didn't consider it a privacy issue. And I assume while I shop online that my movement is being tracked much more closely. But more to the point, shopping malls are going the way of the dodo. The Mall company may find it a pretty depressing set of data. http://themoderatevoice.com/27443/economys-latest-victim-shopping-malls-are-closing/ [themoderatevoice.com]
  • They cannot track cell phones but rather your wifi and Bluetooth MAC addresses.
    Just switch them off and you are done.
    Or Sue the mall management as an option.

    • by exomondo (1725132)

      Or Sue the mall management as an option.

      Sue them for what?

  • by QuasiSteve (2042606) on Wednesday November 23, 2011 @05:35PM (#38152708)

    It's interesting to see the contrast in comments between this story, and the recent Google WiFi Geolocation Opt-Out story:
    http://search.slashdot.org/story/11/11/15/1459208/google-to-allow-location-service-opt-out [slashdot.org]

    While in the case of Google's geolocation services the common argument is that your SSID/MAC needn't be identifying and you're broadcasting it so one has no right to complain anyway... ...here it's almost the complete opposite. Here the broadcasted information is for one's own benefit (the ability to use a cell phone) and it doesn't matter that the information isn't necessarily identifying it's still evil to collect it.

    This despite the SSID likely originating from a private (or business) residence, while your cellphone's signal is originating within another business' location.

    Now obviously there are differences, and the people commenting may not be the same, but I wonder if what's really the difference isn't the fact that there's likely to be little benefit to somebody that cell phone signals are being tracked*, versus the major benefit of faster / less power-hungry geolocation from recording WiFi locations.

    ( * Supported by the notion that most people don't seem to take much issue with e.g. TomTom partnering with cell providers to detect traffic trends in order to warn users of their navigation devices/software of, among other, traffic jams - as obviously that's a major benefit to the user. )

    • by Ltap (1572175)
      There are several differences. First, while it's as effectively a non-option to turn off WiFi just the way it is to turn off your cell phone, you can control what information goes out to a much greater degree. Second, what goes out is the SSID and the MAC, which are personal characteristics ... of your router. Compare and contrast cell phone information, which can potentially hold a lot more important information. Third, it's a question of what can potentially be compromised. If they know your SSID? Not muc
  • this shopping season could prove to be very interesting for Forest City thanks to Ettus research, Gnu Radio, and the same wanton disregard for the privacy of major conglomerate shopping centers as the shopping centers themselves display toward private citizens.

    http://gnuradio.org/redmine/projects/gnuradio/wiki [gnuradio.org] http://www.ettus.com/products [ettus.com] im not saying each cellphone is uniquely identifiable and that these characteristics could easily be script generated for an open source transceiver project that fits
  • I'm not into more government intrusion into our lives, but the entire opt-out concept should be illegal. It should *all* be opt-in.

  • by mysidia (191772) * on Wednesday November 23, 2011 @11:00PM (#38155098)

    Consumers can opt out by turning off their phones."

    This is like a spammer telling you that you can opt-out of junk mail only by closing your e-mail account.

    A telemarketer telling you that you can opt-out of unwanted calls only by changing your phone number.

    A credit card company telling you that you can "opt out" of credit card offers only by waiting until a bill with them is 60 days overdue before paying it.

    A social network website informing you that you can only opt-out of tracking by refraining from using other websites while logged in to your account.

    A magazine informing you that the only way you can opt-out of automatic renewal is to cancel your subscription before it renews (but you don't receive the issues in between the cancel date and the expiration date, and no refunds).

    A monthly book club informing you that the only way you can opt-out of ongoing membership after ending service is to cancel the bank account whose routing/account number was used to signup for the service.

    etc... etc.... none of these "opt-out" are true opt-out. True opt-out, means the consumer can WITHDRAW THEIR PERMISSION to perform the unwanted activity, and it will stop WITHOUT INCONVENIENCE to the consumer, such as having to refrain from using a tool they would normally use, or refrain from partaking in basic services such as phone service.

    As for the ability to receive cell phone signals and use that to track people... I question if it's even legal. The mall doesn't have FCC licenses to operate a receiver on the license restricted private radio frequencies used by cell phones, DO they??

    Last I checked, it was illegal to eavesdrop on a cell phone signal as a third party. "receiving the signal" to detect its presence is no different from receiving a signal to eavesdrop on the contents of the message -- both are wiretapping either way.. I suppose we should see the mall management jailed and prosecuted to the full extent of the law........

  • How is this any different than the malls (and airports and train stations and generally anywhere else) tracking you via the hundreds and thousands of "security" cameras they have plastered all over their premises? They can do all the aggregate tracking they want that way. Add a little bit of face recognition software and they can easily mass-track individuals, too. No chance of "opting out", even.
  • stupid tech sold to stupid mall owners.
    sure, it's doable. sure, it gives you nice metrics.

    are those metrics worth shit? FUCK NO. the mall owners could just go and look which places are busy or ask the rent-a-cops.
    besides than that.. what the fuck are they going to do with the data? charge higher rents from popular shops? or charge them less? the company making most of this tracking is simply the company selling the tracking service. and for it to be good they'll have to track next year too. "hahaha".

    (actual

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