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IE mall tracks cellphones as shoppers wander

A new Black Friday shopping mall system is set to track shoppers as they move from store to store.

November 23, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
"Black Friday" bargain hunters are gearing up for the best "doorbuster" deals. And some shopping malls will be tracking your very move. Your cellphone is revealing your holiday shopping habits, whether you know it or not.

from store to store. Is it just good business, or an invasion of privacy?

At the Promenade Temecula, cellphones are being used to follow shoppers' every move.

'Tis the season of giving and the Promenade Temecula wants its customers to give them a snapshot of their shopping habits.

As shoppers hit up Black Friday deals, their cellphones will be tracked and monitored as they wander throughout the mall.

The data collected are anonymous. The software, produced by Path Intelligence, will track "pings" emitted by cellphones.

Shoppers will be monitored as they walk from store to store.

"We try to find out a little bit more about what our heavy uses are, what lighter uses are, what combinations of stores work well together," said Promenade Temecula Director of Marketing Kym Espinosa.

It's data they want to use to enhance the shopping experience and perhaps attract new stores.

Customers are told about the new tracking system as they stop to view the mall's directory.

Some shoppers Wednesday didn't seem to mind.

Brick-and-mortar stores are now just starting to electronically monitor their foot traffic, but online stores have been doing it longer.

For those concerned about their phones being tracked, simply turning the phone off will prevent tracking.

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