The malls have eyes

Footpath Technology is a tracking system that will be used in select U.S. malls this holiday season. The technology will track shoppers by assigning a unique number to each cell phone signal. Footpath Technology claims personal information, like shoppers’ names and cell phone numbers will not be tracked. What it does want to track is shoppers movement through the mall. So here is a question for you- do you believe this is personal information?

Small signs around the mall will notify shoppers that they are being tracked. If they do happen to see these signs, they will be informed that they can opt-out from being monitored by turning off their cell phones. But what happens when a shopper is not interested in being tracked and has to make a phone call? Or perhaps a shopper did not see the sign altogether. Should this be a situation when shoppers should be able to opt-in rather than opt-out?

Sharon Biggar is the CEO of Path Intelligence, the company responsible for Footpath Technology. Biggar assures shoppers that their movement has been tracked for years through other methods, such as security cameras and people counters. Is this supposed to be reassuring? Although the practice of tracking consumer trends is not new, the method of using cell phone signals for this purpose is.

No matter what your stance is on this issue, make sure you are fully aware of your options. To find out more about this issue, here is an article from CNN Money.

Posted in Holiday season, Privacy Tagged , , , ,

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