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Should There Be a Brick-and-Mortar Do-Not-Track?

CONSUMER PRIVACY—U.S.

October 21, 2013

The Washington Post reports on the tracking capabilities for brick-and-mortar retailers and an initiative to create a sort of Do-Not-Call list for offline tracking. All WiFi and Bluetooth-enabled devices feature a MAC address, which allows routers to send data to the correct recipient. Tracking MAC addresses in a store helps retailers better understand their customers, but some are concerned about privacy. In response, The Wireless Registry, a D.C.-based startup, together with the Future of Privacy Forum (FPF), is helping to build a centralized Do-Not-Call registry for MAC addresses. FPF Director Jules Polonetsky said he is currently working out an agreement among several analytics companies, the report states. The ACLU’s Chris Calabrese, however, is concerned the plan could lead “to more tracking rather than keeping you from being tracked.” (Registration may be required to access this story.) Editor’s Note: Polonetsky will be a panelist on the upcoming IAPP web conference on brick-and-mortar tracking, Thursday, October 31.
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