Mobile phone companies are moving one step closer to developing a comprehensive way to track users’ location – and use that information to deliver targeted marketing.
Today’s phones have the ability use GPS chips and network-based cell-tower information to communicate in an individualized way with users, Reuters reports
For example, if a person is walking past a particular clothing store, their phone may offer them a discount related to that shop.
However, the technology may be moving more slowly than operators would like, due to privacy concerns about how people might react to the knowledge that their location is being shared with a service provider.
The article states that as of the end of 2008, both Verizon Wireless and Sprint have taken steps toward implementing location-based services, while AT&T has said it will begin development on its own version early this year.
"I think you’ll see the business pressures on other carriers will lead them to adopt a more open solution as well," Joel Grossman of data aggregator WaveMarket told the news provider.
This is not the first time GPS technology has been at the heart of a privacy debate. In recent months, some police forces have been pushing for further license to use GPS to track suspects.