Skip to comments.Malls track shoppers' cell phones on Black Friday
Posted on 11/24/2011 5:00:47 AM PST by Morgana
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Attention holiday shoppers: your cell phone may be tracked this year.
Starting on Black Friday and running through New Year's Day, two U.S. malls -- Promenade Temecula in southern California and Short Pump Town Center in Richmond, Va. -- will track guests' movements by monitoring the signals from their cell phones. While the data that's collected is anonymous, it can follow shoppers' paths from store to store.
The goal is for stores to answer questions like: How many Nordstrom shoppers also stop at Starbucks? How long do most customers linger in Victoria's Secret? Are there unpopular spots in the mall that aren't being visited?
While U.S. malls have long tracked how crowds move throughout their stores, this is the first time they've used cell phones.
But obtaining that information comes with privacy concerns.
(Excerpt) Read more at money.cnn.com ...
Probably a dumb question—but does anyone know if your cell phone can be tracked when it’s turned off?
no. Just turn it off. No energy from battery no signal.
Only 2 malls???
Why would anyone believe only 2 are doing this if they all have the ability to do so; and how long have they been doing this?
I bet a lot of malls are preparing for either flash mobs or OWS protesters, both which will use cellphones for coordination of attacks.
Advice for Black Friday, stay home.
Cell phones give GPS location even when they are turned off. And to make matters worse, there is now software available for download to let you turn someone else’s cellphone into a passive listening device.
Somewhat deceptively, some cellphone makes include a “turn off GPS” setting in the menu, but that is downright silly, because your GPS is less determined by your physical phone than it is by triangulation between cellphone towers. The only “official” exception is that all 911 calls automatically send out GPS tracking information.
So all the phone company needs is your unique cellphone identifier, which it must have or it won’t connect you, and it instantly knows where you are.
And the courts have ruled that since your cellphone is a broadcast device, you have no right to privacy over what it transmits and receives.
Having accurate, reliable info about customers is good for business. The cell phone thing creeps me out a little, but I can see why the data would help a sector that's having trouble.
FWIW, if folks want privacy, they should ditch their cells phones.
“..there is now software available for download to let you turn someone elses cellphone into a passive listening device.”
Are you SERIOUS?!!!
News like that makes me want to go smash mine to bits.
BUT, it is an iphone....and I love it.
“Cell phones give GPS location even when they are turned off.”
Remove the battery.
some of the newer model cell phones are that way.
Mine is ten years old. when it is off it is off and I am off the grid!
On the bright side, this sort of thing could come in handy if you’re ever lost or kidnapped. As I rarely wander out of West Hollywood, however, and am no longer a hot young thing, neither is likely to happen to me, so I often leave the little tool-of-satan at home. Maybe it’ll be an alibi someday. “No, no, your honor. According to my cell phone signal, I was at home the night all those fancy chocolate bars vanished from the exclusive and very expensive boutique temptingly near my house.”
Hmm—who to believe? LOL!
Let ‘em come and get me! I simply don’t care anymore.
A myth I have heard is that if you place your cellphone in a mylar type of a bag it will not receive or transmit.
One could try it with a resealable baggie that you have several layers of a space blanket wrapped around it.
I’m surprised there isn’t a market for a portable cell blocking travel case, I know I want to make my own.
It’s important to put the data that cellphones provide in context with all the other data gathering going on constantly.
For example, if you are wearing new clothing or accessories, they likely contain several RFID chips. And as you pass through a “loss prevention” gate at the entrance to the store, it doesn’t just detect inventory that hasn’t been paid for, but it also detects what is likely to be your unique RFID signature of several chips.
The store database also knows who you are from your credit card, and what you purchased, so it knows when you, personally, left the store.
Might be worth trying.....on the other hand, how would you know? LOL!
Of course if I were really worried about this kind of stuff, I wouldn’t be driving around in my car with OnStar on board...
Like I said—if I’m important enough for them to bother with, let them come and get me. I’ve lived a long, wonderful life......
“Advice for Black Friday, stay home”
I do all my Christmas shopping online.
Not really on the subject of cell phones, but I don’t understand the whole Black Friday phenomenon. Thanksgiving should be about being with family and friends, pausing to give thanks, and a well earned rest from the normal frantic pace of life. Instead people camp out in front of Best Buy and Walmart to shop at midnight to save $50 bucks. I just don’t get it.If they were giving away free TV’s and computers I wouldn’t do that. My time is worth too much to me.
Its capitalism. If stores want to open and people want to line up like sheep I guess thats their right. But it would be nice if the holiday wasn’t so much about consumerism. Maybe after the Second American Revolution, we’ll return to a more traditional set of values.
This isn't the first I'm hearing about this, either. I believe some high-end retailers in New York City began doing this some time ago. What makes the NYC story so interesting is that they're allegedly tracking people walking outside the stores. So you may be tracked even if you're just walking to work.
Some will still ping for hours after the battery is removed by draining a capacitor. Not quite GPS but it will register on the towers.
It’s for the kidnapped children, of course.
Advice for Black Friday, stay home.”
I would really enjoy meeting up with the OWS air breathers.
“Remove the battery.”
Just put it in a mylar sack.
Yeah, but you are now a hot not-as-young thing. :)
I hope for a safe Black Friday. I can’t forget these stories of people being trampled in past years as people rush in for the bargains.
Maybe that’s part of why stores are opening at midnight or on Thanksgiving night, to avoid having a big crowd waiting for the doors to open.
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