Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Shields sought over ads tracking mobile users

I'm glad to see that the Center for Digital Democracy and the U.S. Public Interest Research Group are all over this issue, because I don't know about you, but I would rather not be tracked everywhere I go with my cell phone, and then have that information stored and broken down into a detailed consumer profile.

Apparently, that's the Brave New World that these two consumer rights groups are guarding against by appealing to the Federal Trade Commission to investigate the rise in mobile advertising companies collecting vast amounts of information about consumers and their behavior - without fully disclosing it - in an effort to better target their sales pitches.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports:

To tailor ads, mobile advertising firms collect and analyze information about consumers including their mobile browsing histories, device manufacturer, demographic details, products purchased and location. Although the data are anonymous, they can paint a good portrait of an individual's age, race and personality.


But the public interest groups asserted that the tracking of mobile phone users is potentially more intrusive than for computer users. Because people carry phones with them where ever they go, particularly with the advent of phones with Global Positioning Systems, marketers can keep a detailed record of their travels.

In any case, the groups insist that consumers are largely unaware of the implications of clicking on the ads and signing up for various mobile services because marketers "utterly fail to inform users what data are being collected and how they will be used," according to the complaint. In particular, they said that the industry's business practices target children, adolescents and minorities.

Click here to read more.


Anonymous said...

Your whereabouts cannot be tracked through your cellphone if you have a cellphone blocking pouch like this.

ZJK said...

Thanks for the post. Now, let me apologize to everyone. Due to issues with my account, for the past year and a half I was not aware of all the comments that were being submitted!! I'm so sorry. I went back and approved some, but others were so long ago it just didn't make much sense. At any rate, thank you, and I will be aware of comments in the future so comment away...Zack