The Secure Times

An online forum of the ABA Section of Antitrust Law's Privacy and Information Security Committee

Cell phone marketing and privacy

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Another good privacy article in the papers today, this one addressing the huge potential market for cell phone ads, and the privacy and consumer issues that will make it more difficult to tap.

Carriers currently allow only limited targeting based on subscriber zip codes, age or other demographic information. But some consider it only a matter of time before they begin targeting ads based on geolocation data (which the FCC required carriers to collect in its 1996 E911 proceedings, or which can be obtained when subscribers manually input it to use location-based services). Of course, the personal nature of this data raises privacy red flags and could be more annoying than usual to consumers.

CTIA and the Mobile Marketing Association are working on guidelines for notice, consent and periodic tracking reminders, and some carriers are exploring ways to take advantage of profiles without sharing identifiable data. In the meantime, industry participants are moving cautiously to avoid the backlash greeting so many new advertising programs recently.

The article mentions that US subscribers may be becoming more open to this kind of advertising because they’re more frequently embracing data services like their European counterparts (and it notes that Yahoo is working with UK-based Vodaphone to demographically target). But it doesn’t mention the EU ePrivacy directive, which puts strict data protection standards around the use of traffic and location data derived from public communications services and networks.

Author: ABA Antitrust

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