Senator Charles Schumer (D -N.Y) called on the Federal Trade Commission to allow shoppers to opt out of having their movements tracked by their cellphones while shopping.
According to Schumer’s office retailers including United Colors of Benetton, American Apparel, Swatch, and Family Dollar can gain access to customers movement though their unique cellphone identity and acquire information about them without their permission.
Using that technology, retailers can track how customers navigate the store, what products they stop in front of and for how long.
Schumer’s office says it’s going too far. The Senator states, “The place you want to draw the line probably is being followed without your permission. These days major shopping centers, department stores and others. When you walk in the store and your iPhone is on to follow where you go and what you’re doing. They’ll know for instance if you spend 15-20 minutes in the liquor department. They’ll know if you’re looking at certain drug good, prescription drug goods. They’re going to know a lot about you from following you around. Even if you don’t purchase even if you’re just browsing. What we’re saying is simple it’s a bad idea.”
Schumer says many consumers don’t realize they are being tracked and don’t turn their phone off while shopping, which would prevent it from happening.
American Apparel said in a statement that the company monitors only the number of people coming into the store and the number of purchases through its RetialNext system.