‘Mall Tracking’ at Cellphone Location-Privacy Hearing
Posted at 8:57 a.m. on June 5, 2014
It’s probably common knowledge that online retailers gather data about shoppers and that brick-and-mortar stores gather data using loyalty cards. But what about “mall tracking?”
The topic was mentioned at a Senate Judiciary subcommittee hearing Wednesday on Sen. Al Franken’s cellphone location privacy bill, during which Franken talked about “stalking” apps.
Jessica Rich, director of the Federal Trade Commission’s Consumer Protection Bureau, said:
We recently had a seminar on mall tracking, which is not about stalking, but it’s about the use of GPS to track consumer’s movements in stores, and I think that raised awareness about the use of geolocation. And we will be issuing a report on that. And we will be — we continue to have workshops and seminars on consumer protection issues like these.
The practice is nothing new. Even back in 2011, news outlets were reporting on the practice of brick-and-mortar shopping malls collecting information about shoppers through their cellphones.
Last year, New York Democrat Charles E. Schumer called for the Federal Trade Commission to clarify that stores not notifying shoppers that this is happening or giving them a way to opt-out would be an “unfair or deceptive trade practice.”