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[CNN] Cell phone companies start selling personal data

post #1 of 24
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Quote:
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Your phone company knows where you live, what websites you visit, what apps you download, what videos you like to watch, and even where you are. Now, some have begun selling that valuable information to the highest bidder.

In mid-October, Verizon Wireless changed its privacy policy to allow the company to record customers' location data and Web browsing history, combine it with other personal information like age and gender, aggregate it with millions of other customers' data, and sell it on an anonymous basis.

That kind of data could be very useful -- and lucrative -- to third-party companies. For instance, if a small business owner wanted to figure out the best place to open a new pet store, the owner could buy a marketing report from Verizon about a designated area. The report might reveal which city blocks get the most foot or car traffic from people whose Web browsing history reveals that they own pets.

Verizon (VZ, Fortune 500) is the first mobile provider to publicly confirm that it is actually selling information gleaned from its customers directly to businesses. But it's hardly alone in using data about its subscribers to make extra cash.

All four national carriers use aggregated customer information to help outside parties target ads to their subscribers. AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile insist that subscriber data is never actually handed over to third-party vendors; nevertheless, they all make money on it.

AT&T's (T, Fortune 500) AdWorks program, for instance, promotes AT&T's customer base to advertisers. On its AdWorks website, AT&T touts its ability to "reach customized audience segments based on anonymous and aggregate demographics." It then shows customers carefully tailored coupons, in-app ads and Web ads.

Sprint (S, Fortune 500), like Verizon, tracks the kinds of websites a customer visits on their mobile devices as well as what applications they use, according to spokesman Jason Gertzen. Sprint uses that data to help third parties target ads to customers.
Like i said in the Origin/Germany thread, when big business wants something they push their agenda all at once so that way there is no option. People who don't care about Origin scanning your harddrive, be prepared to let the same thing happen to you from nearly every company you do business with, within the next 5-10 yrs.

Source: http://money.cnn.com/2011/11/01/tech...m?iid=HP_River
    
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post #2 of 24
Not paying your lowest employees enough? Watch sales plummet from lack of finances among the lower class.
Not getting enough income to keep your Christmas Bonus? Lay off 3000 of your lowest employees.
Not enough employees left to lay off? Raise prices.
Not enough people left to purchase products at new premium? Exploit the masses.

Anything to keep your grubby paws on the majority of the money your business makes, and keep your paycheck the same.

Way to ignore Reagan's cabinet when they gave you economic freedom and told you if you allowed yourselves to become greedy and turn into a aristocratic society that you would kill America. Thank you corporate America, you've ended any hope this once great nation had.
    
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post #3 of 24
theyve been doing this for a while now...
    
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post #4 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheReciever View Post
theyve been doing this for a while now...
No; at least not in America. They used to, then they got in big trouble for it because they never disclosed they were doing it in the first place. Then they disclosed they were doing it, but only to collect and provide usage data and statistics. I think this is saying "Hey, you know your cellphone, home phone #'s and address? We hope you don't mind the large amount of spam you are going to start receiving once we start giving out your information to recuperate for the loss of sales and customers due to the dying economy."

Edit: This is almost exactly what I stated above upon reading the article completely through. They are just selling marketing info, and not personal information.
Edited by Xaero252 - 11/1/11 at 10:44pm
    
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post #5 of 24
Use of the phrase 'personal data' doesn't seem to be warranted based on the contents of the article.
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post #6 of 24
"Nein danke" phone companies... I feel a bit creeped out big brothers always watching me, next they will use this data to brain wash you into buying there products. Plastic people with plastic products, for a plastic world...
post #7 of 24
I'm confused. The article says they know where you live. It the data is anonymous. So it's usage not PII right?

Anyways, when the robots take over they're gonna have one hell of an easy job tracking us down and wiping us out. Actually what about terrorism? A terrorist group could easily purchase data to find most traveled routes and most visited locations. Not to be paranoid but this is kind of scary.
Edited by Psykhotic - 11/2/11 at 12:51am
post #8 of 24
Is this data collected by the phone's OS and periodically retrieved by the carrier? Or is it done at the cell tower/server level?
 
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post #9 of 24
only smartphones right ?
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post #10 of 24
For the sake of battery life, I believe it is done at the Cell tower using the IMEID and SIM card serial to better tie the usage statistics. So they can help the marketing industry with business & ad placement.
    
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