[IP] [EPIC_IDOF] Getting consumers' consent to sell

Kris Gabor kgabor at aol.com
Wed Nov 30 04:18:13 PST 2005

cellphone tracking data

Interesting debate.  I don't see the big deal here, though.  A lot of
valuable information can be gleaned from using cell phones as anonymous
mobile transponders.  The key is that the wireless carriers not pass
on any
personally identifiable information to the company doing the
aggregation and
analysis, and that the scope of the information is geographically
Requiring consumers to opt in would render this concept DOA.  I would be
interested in seeing the details of what raw data they are intending
to turn

The way the wireless carrier should do this to keep me happy as a
who values his privacy is to send the aggregator a feed of lat/long with
some ephemeral ID that is constant for my phone (maybe changes
daily), but
cannot be resolved back to the ESN or phone number.  Moreover, they
only do this if the location is within some geographic mask that
highway systems of interest.  I wouldn't want them to send a record
of me
pulling into my driveway, for instance.  This way, we get the utility
without giving up privacy.  Seems like a win-win to me.

-- Kris

On 11/30/05 14:25, "David Farber" <dave at farber.net> wrote:

>Begin forwarded message:
>From: "Richard M. Smith" <rms at computerbytesman.com>
>Date: November 29, 2005 12:12:46 PM EST
>To: EPIC_IDOF at mailman.epic.org
>Subject: [EPIC_IDOF] Getting consumers' consent to sell cellphone
>tracking data
>The Baltimore Sun and New York Times recently ran articles about the
>of Maryland getting ready to roll out a traffic flow monitoring
>system which
>works by tracking the position of cellphones which are being
>carried in
>cars.  The Baltimore Sun article is still online at this URL:
>    Cell phone data tracing traffic in Md.
>    System 'watches' vehicles, raises fears about privacy
>    http://tinyurl.com/7we6q
>Virginia and Missouri are also about ready to test similar systems.
>I want to see a requirement put into place that wireless companies
>must get
>a customer's written consent before any of  their cellphone position
>data is
>turned over to a third-party for any uses not related to making
>I recent contacted the Maryland Highway Department and requested a
>copy of
>the contract for the system.  The contract is now online as a Word
>file on my Web site:
>    http://www.computerbytesman.com/privacy/mdotcontract.doc
>I haven't had time to review the contract yet, but I did see that the
>for this Maryland project are coming from the Federal Highway
>(http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/).  Perhaps the FHWA are the folks who
>should be
>requiring consumers to provide consent to have their cellphone
>position data
>sold to other companies.
>Richard M. Smith
>EPIC_IDOF mailing list
>EPIC_IDOF at mailman.epic.org
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