Tech

Cell Phone Carrier Marketing Techniques An Invasion Of Privacy?

By Paula Ebben, WBZ-TV
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(File photo by David Paul Morris/Getty Images)

(File photo by David Paul Morris/Getty Images)

WBZ-TV's Paula Ebben Paula Ebben
Award-winning journalist Paula Ebben co-anchors WBZ-TV News at 6PM...
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BOSTON (CBS) – Your cell phone may be spying on you.

Every time you download an app, search for a website, send a text, snap a QR code or drive by a store with your GPS on, you are being tracked by your cell phone company.

“They know you were playing Angry Birds. They know that you drove by Sears. They know you drove by Domino’s Pizza. They can take that and take a very unique algorithm that can focus on your behavior,” explained marketing expert Mark Johnson. “It’s very impactful.”

According to Johnson, your data trail is worth big money to the cell phone companies.

WBZ-TV’s Paula Ebben reports.

Details about your habits, your age and gender are compiled and can be sold to third parties. The information is predominantly used as a marketing tool so advertisers can target you with products or services that you are more likely to use or want.

The idea does not sit well with smartphone user Harrine Freeman.

“It does seem creepy that companies are collecting all this information about consumers,” she said.

Freeman is so uneasy; she turns off her GPS when she is not using it. She also clears her browser history.

“I think it is an invasion of privacy,” she said.

All of the major cell phone carries admit to collecting information about its customers. Some in the industry argue it benefits consumers because they get ads that are relevant to them.

Cell phone companies do notify customers about the data they collect, but critics say the notices are often hard to understand and written in fine print.

Rainey Reitman of the Electronic Frontier Foundation doesn’t like the fact that those who don’t want to be tracked have to go out of their way to get the company to stop.

“This is something that consumers are automatically opted into,” Reitman said.

To find out how your cell phone company might be monitoring you, be sure to carefully read the privacy policy.

Also, make sure you read all of the updates your carrier might send you because this tracking technology keeps changing.

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