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Thread: Malls tracking shopper's cell phones?

  1. #1
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    Malls tracking shopper's cell phones?

    For those out there with fantasies of government "big brotherisms" , here's a far more-likely item for you...

    NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Attention holiday shoppers: your cell phone may be tracked this year.

    Starting on Black Friday and running through New Year's Day, two U.S. malls -- Promenade Temecula in southern California and Short Pump Town Center in Richmond, Va. -- will track guests' movements by monitoring the signals from their cell phones.

    3210121Print CommentWhile the data that's collected is anonymous, it can follow shoppers' paths from store to store.

    The goal is for stores to answer questions like: How many Nordstrom shoppers also stop at Starbucks? How long do most customers linger in Victoria's Secret? Are there unpopular spots in the mall that aren't being visited?

    While U.S. malls have long tracked how crowds move throughout their stores, this is the first time they've used cell phones.

    But obtaining that information comes with privacy concerns.

    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.

    0:00 / 1:45 Avoid costly mistakes on Black Friday
    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.

    The system can't take photos or collect data on what shoppers have purchased. 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.

    "We don't need to know who it is and we don't need to know anyone's cell phone number, nor do we want that," Shriver-Engdahl said.

    Manufactured by a British company, Path Intelligence, this technology has already been used in shopping centers in Europe and Australia. And according to Path Intelligence CEO Sharon Biggar, hardly any shoppers decide to opt out.

    "It's just not invasive of privacy," she said. "There are no risks to privacy, so I don't see why anyone would opt out."

    Now, U.S. retailers including JCPenney (JCP, Fortune 500) and Home Depot (HD, Fortune 500) are also working with Path Intelligence to use their technology, Biggar said.

    Home Depot has considered implementing the technology but is not currently using it any stores, a company spokesman said. JCPenney declined to comment on its relationship with the vendor.

    Why Apple and Google need to stalk you
    Some retail analysts say the new technology is nothing to be worried about. Malls have been tracking shoppers for years through people counters, security cameras, heat maps and even undercover researchers who follow shoppers around.

    And some even say websites that track online shoppers are more invasive, recording not only a user's name and purchases, but then targeting them with ads even after they've left a site.

    "It's important for shoppers to realize this sort of data is being collected anyway," Biggar said.

    Whereas a website can track a customer who doesn't make a purchase, physical stores have been struggling to perfect this kind of research, Biggar said. By combining the data from FootPath with their own sales figures, stores will have better measurements to help them improve the shopping experience.

    "We can now say, you had 100 people come to this product, but no one purchased it," Biggar said. "From there, we can help a retailer narrow down what's going wrong."

    0:00 / 1:58 Black Friday survival guide
    But some industry analysts worry about the broader implications of this kind of technology.

    "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?"

    Last year, hackers hit AT&T, exposing the unique ID numbers and e-mail addresses of more than 100,000 iPad 3G owners. To make it harder for hackers to get at this information, Path Intelligence scrambles those numbers twice.

    "I'm sure as more people get more cell phones, it's probably inevitable that it will continue as a resource," Mulpuru said. "But I think the future is going to have to be opt in, not opt out."

  2. #2
    Activist Member golddigger14s's Avatar
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    Almost all malls prohibit guns, so since my wallet is attached to my holster I won't be in any mall. They can track all the sheep they want.
    "The beauty of the Second Amenment is that it will not be needed until they try to take it." Thomas Jefferson
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    Regular Member Jack House's Avatar
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    "It's important to know this data is already being recorded anyway"

    Just because something is already happening doesn't make it right.

    Posted using my HTC Evo

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    Regular Member 09jisaac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by golddigger14s View Post
    Almost all malls prohibit guns, so since my wallet is attached to my holster I won't be in any mall. They can track all the sheep they want.
    I would like to have a wallet literally attached to my holster. But it wouldn't do me any good right now though. I am down here in TN, where you have to have a permit to carry..... But I am going back to KY tomorrow.

    They want you to get used to all these acts. They ease you into it slowly. Most people wouldn't mind if I took one dollar from 'em everyday, but they would be outraged if I took 365 once every year. Because you can slowly take anything away from most americans.
    Last edited by 09jisaac; 11-26-2011 at 10:45 PM.

  5. #5
    Campaign Veteran since9's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 09jisaac View Post
    I would like to have a wallet literally attached to my holster.
    I carry my firearm on my right. I carry my wallet on my right. To sales people who notice I'm carrying and are nervous, I would much rather allay their fears by reaching well around to my back pocket and paying the bill than reaching towards my holstered firearm.

    They appreciate that! HALF of our existence involves expanding public appeal. That will never happen with an "IN YOUR FACE!!!" approach.

    OC for sure. If you're the resident right-wing nutcase barking left and right, you're not helping the overall OC/CC/WC (whatever carry) cause. That's human sociology 101.
    The First protects the Second, and the Second protects the First. Together, they protect the rest of our Bill of Rights and our United States Constitution, and help We the People protect ourselves in the spirit of our Declaration of Independence.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by golddigger14s View Post
    Almost all malls prohibit guns, so since my wallet is attached to my holster I won't be in any mall. They can track all the sheep they want.
    Not true.
    Don't believe any facts that I say! This is the internet and it is filled with lies and untruth. I invite you to look up for yourself the basic facts that my arguments might be based upon. This way we can have a discussion where logic and hints on where to find information are what is brought to the forum and people look up and verify facts for themselves.

  7. #7
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    Not sure what is the big deal. Its conducted on private property and it is passive monitoring of signal location. If they broke the encryption on the signal then there would be a problem (criminal eavesdropping most likely), but as it is this is not so bad. If you don't like it turn off your phone.
    Don't believe any facts that I say! This is the internet and it is filled with lies and untruth. I invite you to look up for yourself the basic facts that my arguments might be based upon. This way we can have a discussion where logic and hints on where to find information are what is brought to the forum and people look up and verify facts for themselves.

  8. #8
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    Cell phones periodically send their unique identifier (IMEI) to the tower. All they have to do is listen for that at different ends of the mall. No black magic. Your phone announces it's presence to the network all the time.
    Last edited by Kirbinator; 11-27-2011 at 08:15 PM.
    It takes a village to raise an idiot.

  9. #9
    Regular Member Dreamer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daylen View Post
    Not true.
    Actually it is. A solid majority of malls (over 60%) prohibit weapons of any kind by policy, and in some states that have de-facto carry bans (through administrative difficulty or outright impossibility of obtaining permits, like NY, MD, NJ, and HI) ALL the malls prohibit carry because carry simply isn't legal--except to a privileged, anointed few...

    The majority of malls in the US are owned by one of about 5 companies, three of which are owned by foreign concerns. Two of those are British, and one is French, and ALL are owned by notorious, Globalist, gun-grabbing neo-feudalists...

    It IS, in fact true, that "most malls prohibit carry".
    It is our cause to dispel the foggy thinking which avoids hard decisions in the delusion that a world of conflict will somehow mysteriously resolve itself into a world of harmony, if we just don't rock the boat or irritate the forces of aggression—and this is hogwash."
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dreamer View Post
    Actually it is. A solid majority of malls (over 60%) prohibit weapons of any kind by policy, and in some states that have de-facto carry bans (through administrative difficulty or outright impossibility of obtaining permits, like NY, MD, NJ, and HI) ALL the malls prohibit carry because carry simply isn't legal--except to a privileged, anointed few...

    The majority of malls in the US are owned by one of about 5 companies, three of which are owned by foreign concerns. Two of those are British, and one is French, and ALL are owned by notorious, Globalist, gun-grabbing neo-feudalists...

    It IS, in fact true, that "most malls prohibit carry".
    60% is not almost all. Your new statement is too ambiguous to bother with.
    Don't believe any facts that I say! This is the internet and it is filled with lies and untruth. I invite you to look up for yourself the basic facts that my arguments might be based upon. This way we can have a discussion where logic and hints on where to find information are what is brought to the forum and people look up and verify facts for themselves.

  11. #11
    Regular Member 09jisaac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by since9 View Post
    I carry my firearm on my right. I carry my wallet on my right. To sales people who notice I'm carrying and are nervous, I would much rather allay their fears by reaching well around to my back pocket and paying the bill than reaching towards my holstered firearm.

    They appreciate that! HALF of our existence involves expanding public appeal. That will never happen with an "IN YOUR FACE!!!" approach.

    OC for sure. If you're the resident right-wing nutcase barking left and right, you're not helping the overall OC/CC/WC (whatever carry) cause. That's human sociology 101.

    Yea, naturally you can't just have a wallet attached to your holster with a chain or something. It has to be right there, so you have to grab your gun to get to your wallet. Maybe connect it to my gun even, just skip the middle man. Have it tethered to the muzzle or something.

    Because you have to be a right-wing nutcase that is always in someone's face to make a point.

    You don't have to comment everytime someone say something that you don't fully understand.
    Last edited by 09jisaac; 11-28-2011 at 08:54 PM.

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