Over the Thanksgiving shopping weekend, two shopping malls in the U.S. were using “FootPath technology,” developed by British company Path Intelligence, to track shoppers’ movements by monitoring their cell phone signals. The shopping malls installed antennas at various points in the mall and posted signs telling shoppers that a survey was being conducted that anonymously tracked shoppers’ movements throughout the malls. If shoppers didn’t want to be tracked, they had to turn off their cell phones. The shopping mall management companies put a halt to the surveys after Senator Charles Schumer (NY-D) raised privacy concerns about the FootPath technology. Schumer also sent a letter to the CEO of Path Intelligence, urging it to institute an opt-in policy, and sent a letter to the FTC, asking it to examine how this technology fits into U.S. privacy regulations. Other retailers are reportedly still considering implementing the technology.
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