Is Someone Watching You While You Shop?

26 Nov

smartphone-hiBig Brother is watching you—from your cell phone.

Do you turn your WiFi off when you go to the mall?  Unless you do, as you move from store to store, from counter to counter, your cell phone is constantly sending out signals that track your location.  And just who is interested in these data? Retailers, for one, and “MLACs,” for another–mobile location analytics companies.  MLACs make their money by selling the data to others.  A problem?

Senator Chuck Schumer of New York thought so.  His efforts resulted in the October 22, 2013 introduction of a new code of conduct for the mobile location analytics industry designed to bring this data collection more into line with the FTC requirements of “notice and consent.”  According to an article in the North Carolina Journal of Law and Technology (NC Jolt), however, as of November 12, only “some” MLACs, and no retailers, had signed up.  Still, you may begin seeing notices about opting out of this surveillance via a central website in the coming weeks or months.

For more information, see this article in North Carolina Journal of Law and Technology.

Barb Stenross, DTCC Paralegal Student

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