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Malls halt cellphone-tracking experiment after complaint from Senator Schumer

Donald Melanson, @donmelanson
November 29, 2011
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As you may have heard last week, two US malls (the Promenade Temecula in Southern California and Short Pump Town Center in Richmond, Virginia) decided to conduct a little experiment this holiday shopping season, in which they employed some cellphone-tracking technology in an effort to learn more about individuals' shopping patterns. That technology came from a company called Path Intelligence, which has previously outfitted UK malls with the system, and assures folks that it only detects cellphone signals, not phone numbers or other personal data.

Those assurances apparently weren't enough for US Senator Chuck Schumer, however, who sent letters to both the FTC and the CEO of Path Intelligence, complaining that the tracking was "simply unreasonable," and that a "shopper should not have to choose between the ability to be in touch with friends and family in case of emergency and safeguarding her privacy." While it's unclear if it's in direct response to the Senator's letter, the company that owns both malls has reportedly shut down the tracking systems after only a day of use, although it isn't commenting publicly on the matter just yet. You can find Senator Schumer's full statement at the source link below.



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