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Australia Privacy Your Rights Online

Australian Malls To Track Shoppers By Their Phones 236

Fluffeh writes "Australian shopping centers will monitor customers' mobile phones to track how often they visit, which stores they like and how long they stay. One unnamed Queensland shopping center is next month due to become the first in the nation to install receivers that detect unique mobile phone radio frequency codes to pinpoint location within two meters."
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Australian Malls To Track Shoppers By Their Phones

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 14, 2011 @03:43AM (#37711114)

    This isn't strictly an Australian thing, so you'll need to just get rid of the phone. A prominent, international retailer that I work with is using a service similar to this now. It tracks the unique addresses of the phones of the people in the store as well as the ones just outside of the store. It helps to measure conversion percentages (e.g. how many people that walk in the store actually buy something) and could be used to give an indicator of store front appeal (e.g. phone ID xxx has been walking by the store everyday for a week, but came in the store after the price cuts were indicated in the store window). Finally, if the tracker is installed at multiple stores, it will note if the same person browses at one store and purchases at another (e.g. finds product at the full price store in Manhattan, but buys at the outlet shop in Paramus).

    This isn't really that new, just a new approach to more targeted marketing. Retailers have been counting you as you walk through the door, collecting your name, address, and purchasing habits for years. Some customers even volunteer their information by signing up for club cards and rewards cards.

  • by bool2 ( 1782642 ) on Friday October 14, 2011 @03:52AM (#37711172) Homepage
    In Australia, the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act 1979 explicitly prohibits this activity.
    Section 7 - Telecommunications not to be intercepted

    A person shall not:

    • (a) intercept;
    • (b) authorize, suffer or permit another person to intercept; or
    • (c) do any act or thing that will enable him or her or another person to intercept;

    a communication passing over a telecommunications system.

    This seems like a pretty clear violation to me. (note, that even though it is data traffic between the phone and the cell and not voice, it still violates the above.)

  • Re:Good luck... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by labnet ( 457441 ) on Friday October 14, 2011 @04:31AM (#37711354)

    ...Australian shops are so overpriced that it's getting to the point where they're not going to have any customers to track.

    Amen to that.
    We were quoted $8k for 2 Siemens Wall Ovens.
    UK Retail Price $3.2k
    What did we do? Paid the $3.2k + $800 costs to import them!

    Globalisation is a disruptive force!

    (BTW Australians call them shopping centres, not Malls)
    (BBTW Have seen our supermarkets stocking halloween stuff... go away unwanted American culture)

Fear is the greatest salesman. -- Robert Klein