Cell Phone Tracking In A Mall Near You?

image: pathintelligence.com

A sign of things to come will be the tracking of ‘patterns of movement’ this Holiday Season while shoppers move about from store to store in two specific US shopping malls, the Promenade Temecula in southern California and Short Pump Town Center in Richmond, Va. The method of tracking will be the electronic signals emanating from the cell phones of shoppers.

The shopping centers have been equipped with many antennas mounted throughout the premises, which will capture cell phone signals as people walk around the mall. The tracking system called ‘FootPath’ will not capture the ID’s, user-names, or other personal information, according to the manufacturer ‘Path Intelligence’ – a British company who has already installed systems in Europe and Australia.

The information that is collected will be used to discover how people shop and the associations between each person’s shopping preferences (e.g. a person who shops at store-x also shops at store-y, etc.).

As technology further enables very precise data collection, and while the original intent or use of such technology is often for better optimization of capitalism, invariably these technologies go in the back pocket of ‘big brother’ and could present a real invasion of privacy if used for the wrong purposes.

It seems that most people simply accept the fact that they and their habits are being tracked and logged as time ticks by, without much of a thought regarding the invasion of privacy and the erosion of liberty that is occurring.

Most people are not very skeptical about things, and will accept a statement that an organization may say, such as ‘no personal information will be collected’, etc. The statement may indeed be accurate and true, at first… but these things can work themselves into the wrong hands and could work against you after a time.

“Most of this information is harmless and nobody ever does anything nefarious with it,” said Sucharita Mulpuru, retail analyst at Forrester Research. “But the reality is, what happens when you start having hackers potentially having access to this information and being able to track your movements?”

“Consumers can opt out by turning off their phones”

“I’m sure as more people get more cell phones, it’s probably inevitable that it will continue as a resource”

Source: CNN Money


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  1. This “tracking system called ‘FootPath’ will not capture the ID’s, user-names, or other personal information”… YET, just give ’em time. :)

    1. EXACTLY. Just imagine your health-insurance company salivating to know if you frequent too many junk-food stores for example, so they could ‘adjust’ your rates accordingly, etc. The sky is the limit to what could be done with this data. We’re being pinned down more and more…

      1. They are exploiting our dependence and reckless use of technology to invade our privacy. Some discipline is required to thwart these eves droppers. Turning off your cell phone unless you are making a call. Using your computer only for email and a couple of trusted sites. It’s when we leave ourselves exposed 24-7 that we invite the prying, meddling eyes of others into our private world. Facebook is just another hole for the snakes to get in. I would prefer a zero use of technology and return to more tried and true private means of communication and “surfing”.

  2. Good point. On an off topic, with all the abilities and apps available on a cell phone now, think of all the other devices being made obsolete by the cell phone. Watches, stop watch, camera, camcorder, gps, stereo, recorder, scanner, reader and on and on. And all the jobs required to make these things are going away too. Granted these are mostly foreign jobs but our phones are too.

  3. @ “BEE”, Hi! Yes, no cells!… Though I still have reservations ( Pun intended ) about the land line system. What doesn’t the system use for data collection? I have land lines that I can use. Not mine, and I still say Hi! to the 3rd party if I use them. Just a thought… I still have, and never will use a cell; Have NEVER- used one! Too easy for TPTB to monitor. Dump that TEC… Yesterday!… Hope All had a good day Thursday, good family, good clan, good M.S.B.; Love, Love, Love… Survive-All… P.S. Not to mention the pollution and pain Earth suffers from the manufacture of all of this stuff and here I am using one of the worst… Oh well… The messages out weigh the means? Is that a cop out? Am I a hypocrite? Guess that’s for All to decide… Prepare/Breathe Here Now/Add Awareness/And move like the Tortoise… It’ a win, win, win…

  4. If one must carry a cell phone for one reason or another, purchase one of the pre-paid ones like Net 10, I found they have the best rates. You can get a pre-paid phone card good for one month for $20.00.
    A friend of mine spends $100 a month on their regular cell phone, that’s $1200 a year! Yikes!!
    Also, pay in cash. No way can any tracking company or the government can find what you are buying. People seem to go nuts over using credit cards to purchase even items less than $5.00. I’ve seen them at McDonalds using their credit cards for a $3.00 purchase, come on, don’t you have $3.00 in your pocket? And it gets annoying when it doesn’t “go through” the first time, or the second time, and then the cashier has to type the numbers in.

  5. This technology works very smoothly as they did not track any personal information about the peoples. But this can be harmful if this technology use by wrong people and it can be used against us.

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