Jul 302013
 July 30, 2013  Posted by  Business, Surveillance, U.S.

The Honorable Edith Ramirez,
Federal Trade Commission

Dear Chairwoman Ramirez,

Over the past several months retailers around the country have increasingly been exploring technologies that use a shopper’s unique cell phone ID to follow their movements throughout shopping centers and individual stores. The technology allows shoppers to be tracked throughout a store, allowing a retailer to acquire information about shoppers without their permission. Retailers do not ever receive affirmative consent from the consumer for this type of tracking, and the only options for a consumer to not be tracked are to turn off their phone’s Wi-Fi, or to leave the phone at home.

Geophysical location data about a person is obviously highly sensitive; however, retailers are collecting this information anonymously without consent. I would ask that the Federal Trade Commission investigate this practice, and clarify that it is an unfair or deceptive trade practice to fail to notify shoppers that their movements are being tracked in a store or to give them an opportunity to opt out of this type of tracking before it begins. As these technologies become more widespread, it is imperative that we protect our consumers from unknowingly giving out information they do not desire to.

I look forward to hearing from you on this important issue.


Senator Charles E. Schumer

SOURCE: Senator Schumer

Well, it’s a step in the right direction, but why not require opt-in consent instead of just permitting opt-out?

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