The Washington Post has an interesting story on GPS systems on mobile phones and the ways marketers are seeking to use the technology. Increasingly, we’re part of a world where technology makes surreptitious tracking easy.
Consumers for years have been able to carry portable electronic devices that can pinpoint where they are on a map or a mountain trail. But […] the iPhone 3G signals the growing sophistication of an industry — demonstrating the power of marrying precise location technology with the reach of the Internet on mobile devices.
Merchants can use this information to target ads, malls to entice shoppers, insurance adjusters to calibrate premiums, employers to catch moonlighters and parents to keep an eye on children. But what many users may not realize is that by sharing this information, they are creating often permanent records that can tell not only wireless providers, but also social networking sites, other users, and potentially law enforcement and civil attorneys every place they are and have been, as long as their phone and tracking device are on.
“There’s a disconnect between our expectations of when we will be observed and who will be observing us and how that information will be used and what the technology is allowing companies to do,” said Jennifer Urban, a University of Southern California law professor.