New York Democratic senator Charles Schumer has called on the Federal Trade Commission to force retailers to let shoppers opt out of in-store tracking based on mobile phones, according to reports in Newsday. Schumer said he sent a letter to FTC chairwoman Edith Ramirez last week asking the agency investigate the tracking, calling it an “unfair” and “deceptive” practice.
He proposed that the FTC require retailers to send an electronic notice to a customer’s phone before actual tracking begins, giving the customer a choice to opt out.
Schumer’s office specifically named Benetton, American Apparel, Swatch and Family Dollar as chains that use mobile-based in-store tracking. However, in a statement, American Apparel said it monitors only the number of people coming into the store and the number of purchases through its RetailNext system.
“What we’re saying very simply is that it is a bad idea to allow people to be tracked without their knowledge and permission,” Schumer (D-N.Y.) said at a news conference in Manhattan. “It’s going too far.”
Schumer failed to address why it’s alright for the government to track our phones and our mobile activity everywhere we go but not for retailers who only do it when shoppers choose to walk on their premises.