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Privacy Patents

Pay-For-Visit Advertising 176

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 @11:13AM (#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.
  • Data bill (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Joe The Dragon ( 967727 ) on Thursday August 09, 2007 @11:15AM (#20170115)
    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?
  • by ricebowl ( 999467 ) on Thursday August 09, 2007 @11:16AM (#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.'

  • So basically... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by shakingbrave ( 1136495 ) on Thursday August 09, 2007 @11:16AM (#20170135)
    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...
  • what a crock (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 09, 2007 @11:17AM (#20170147)
    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 @11:18AM (#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.
  • Re:So basically... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DogDude ( 805747 ) on Thursday August 09, 2007 @11:21AM (#20170211)
    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:So basically... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by eln ( 21727 ) * on Thursday August 09, 2007 @11:22AM (#20170225)

    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 cerelib ( 903469 ) on Thursday August 09, 2007 @11:23AM (#20170247)
    Here is the scary thing. I think most marketing professionals saw Minority Report and said, "That's the greatest idea ever!"
  • by apodyopsis ( 1048476 ) on Thursday August 09, 2007 @11:35AM (#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.
  • by Radon360 ( 951529 ) on Thursday August 09, 2007 @11:42AM (#20170529)

    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.

  • Re:no thanks (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Lockejaw ( 955650 ) on Thursday August 09, 2007 @12:00PM (#20170809)

    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 bought a lot of cereal half an hour ago. Of course, the chance that he cares enough to remember the purchase half an hour later is slim.
  • Re:no thanks (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Mr. No Skills ( 591753 ) <lskywalker@hotma i l .com> on Thursday August 09, 2007 @12:37PM (#20171387) Journal

    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 Pragmatix ( 688158 ) on Thursday August 09, 2007 @12:47PM (#20171541)
    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 piece of the sale. Everyone is happy.

    I have no problem with this kind of feature, as long as you can turn it on or off.

The party adjourned to a hot tub, yes. Fully clothed, I might add. -- IBM employee, testifying in California State Supreme Court