Issues Smart Stores

Smart Stores

Smart Store

Mobile Location Analytics (MLA)

New technologies, which rely on the fact that most people carry a mobile device, now allow venues such as airports, stores, and hotels to receive signals from devices that are in or near them.  If your mobile device has Wi-Fi or Bluetooth turned on, it broadcasts a unique number – called a MAC address – that can be logged by Wi-Fi equipment or Bluetooth sensors.  A MAC address is simply a 12-character string of letters and numbers; it doesn’t contain personal information like your name, email address, or phone number.

Since a MAC address is unique to each device, special analytics software can be used to generate reports about customer traffic in a store based on the MAC addresses that are detected at any given time (see sample reports here). For instance, a venue can learn how many unique customers walk into it, and the path customers take as they move around.  A venue can then use this information to improve customer service – by making sure there are enough employees available, reducing wait times, or improving venue layouts.

Mobile location analytics companies that have agreed to FPF’s Mobile Location Analytics Code of Conduct, which was announced with Senator Schumer (D-NY) in October, will honor the requests of consumers who wish to opt-out of having their location collected. Consumers opt-out by entering their phones’ Wi-Fi or Bluetooth MAC address at smartstoreprivacy.org.

This website provides more details about these technologies, the information they collect and how it is used, and your choices.

RESOURCES

 

Updates: 

[5.19.14] Op-ed: Trust, transparency best in-store deal for shoppers with mobile phones by Jules Polonetsky, via RetailingToday
[3.27.14] Blog post: MAC Addresses and De-identification
[3.19.14] FPF’s comments to the FTC on mobile location tracking
[10.23.13] Director of the FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection Comments on MLA Code

The following companies are part of FPF’s Mobile Location Analytics (MLA) working group:  

Privacy Calendar

Dec
2
Tue
all-day IAPP Practical Privacy Series 2014
IAPP Practical Privacy Series 2014
Dec 2 – Dec 3 all-day
Government and FTC and Consumer Privacy return to Washington, DC. For more information, click here.
Dec
11
Thu
9:00 am Progress of the EU Data Protecti...
Progress of the EU Data Protecti...
Dec 11 @ 9:00 am
The EU Member States have agreed to conclude the negotiations on the EU Data Protection draft Regulation in 2015. The process will have arrived at a critical point by the end of this year. The[...]
Jan
26
Mon
8:30 am Privacy as a Profit Center: Leve... @ Old Slip by Convene
Privacy as a Profit Center: Leve... @ Old Slip by Convene
Jan 26 @ 8:30 am – Jan 27 @ 4:15 pm
Learn how those on the leading edge of privacy governance and digital innovation from companies including Cigna, Cisco Systems, eBay Inc. Public Policy Lab, FocusMotion,Ghostery, Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, Google, HP Enterprise Security Products, JPMorgan[...]
Jan
28
Wed
all-day Data Privacy Day
Data Privacy Day
Jan 28 – Jan 29 all-day
“Data Privacy Day began in the United States and Canada in January 2008, as an extension of the Data Protection Day celebration in Europe. The Day commemorates the 1981 signing of Convention 108, the first[...]
Mar
4
Wed
all-day Global Privacy Summit 2015
Global Privacy Summit 2015
Mar 4 – Mar 6 all-day
For more information, click here.
Mar
10
Tue
6:00 pm CDT Annual Dinner “TechProm” 2015
CDT Annual Dinner “TechProm” 2015
Mar 10 @ 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Featuring the most influential minds of the tech policy world, CDT’s annual dinner, TechProm, highlights the issues your organization will be facing in the future and provides the networking opportunities that can help you tackle[...]
Mar
13
Fri
all-day BCLT Privacy Law Forum
BCLT Privacy Law Forum
Mar 13 all-day
This program will feature leading academics and practitioners discussing the latest developments in privacy law. UC Berkeley Law faculty and conference panelists will discuss cutting-edge scholarship and explore ‘real world’ privacy law problems. Click here[...]

View Calendar