Malls go Big Brother with holiday shopping cell phone tracking

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Where are you going and where have you been? No need to tell me, I already know.

With mobile phone privacy in the forefront of our minds, it was a bit disconcerting to hear that this holiday season (Black Friday through New Years) certain malls will be tracking shoppers’ phones. Right now, just two US malls have said they will be anonymously tracking visitor’s phones, the Promenade Temecula in Temecula, California and the wonderfully-named Short Pump Town Center in Richmond, Virginia.

A notice was posted at the Promenade stating that anonymous data will be collected using the signals from visitors’ mobile phones. The data will be anonymized and is collected using a number of “monitoring units” placed around the mall. The purpose of the data collection, according to both the mall’s signage and website is to “enhance the shopping experience,” something we’re not quite sure all the visitors will appreciate as much as the malls might hope…

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