Friday, October 14, 2011

Mallrats Shall Be Tracked

'Creepy' Path Intelligence retail technology tracks shoppers

"SHOPPING centres will monitor customers' mobile phones to track how often they visit, which stores they like and how long they stay.

The technology, brought to Australia by a UK-based company, has prompted a call for privacy or telephone intercept regulators to investigate.

One unnamed Queensland shopping centre is next month due to become the first in the nation to fit receivers that detect unique mobile phone radio frequency codes to pinpoint location within two metres.

The company behind the Footpath system says it is also in discussions with other major Australian sites.

Path Intelligence national sales manager Kerry Baddeley stressed that no mobile phone user names or numbers could be accessed.

"All we do is log the movement of a phone around an area and aggregate this to provide trend data for businesses,'' she said.

"It's much less intrusive or invasive than existing people-counting methods, for instance CCTV cameras and number plate monitoring.''

Australian Privacy Foundation chairman Dr Roger Clarke said emerging retail tracking techniques were "seriously creepy'' and should be thoroughly investigated."


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