Considering privacy in relation indoor positioning tracking

With the increase of mobile adoption many retailers are starting to consider how to best engage mobile both in and out of the store.  One area that is drawing attention of retailers is how to measure and monitor foot traffic within stores through and with mobile.  There are many solutions and services (Geofencing, WiFi, Bluetooth, femtocells, and proprietary networks/solutions like Nextnav or Shopkick) that can be drawn upon to accomplish this.  These services triangulate a device's location in and/or near a store through the detection of its  unique identification number, otherwise known as the ESN - Electronic Serial Number, MEID - Mobile Equipment Identity number, or IMEID- International Mobile Equipment Identity number.   

Regardless of the solution used, however, retailers should consider the privacy implications when it comes to enabling services like this.

Consumer privacy is a complex, interdisciplinary--commercial, sociological, physiological, legal, etc.--subject matter. Privacy is a dynamic regulatory process that individuals and groups employ in order to manage their desired level of interaction. In the context of marketing, we often treat privacy as a binary function, i.e. has the consumer opted in or opted out. However, privacy is not binary, rather it is a complex environmental regulatory mechanism for controlling individual and group interactions and is influenced by many factors--location, time, current behavior, immediate motivations, cultural norms, individual sentiments, and any number of other factors. Practitioners and scholars alike have been working on studying this topic for well over a hundred years now, but in the last six years, with the advent of the smartphone, social media, cloud computing, predictive analytics, and big data, the privacy discussion has taken on even more factors to consider.
 
There is no one answer to the questions above, the answers will be found in the context. Marketers need to consider how they're monitoring in-store interaction. They should consider if their monitoring is personally identifiable or not, if there is a possibility that children may be tracked, or is the context sensitive as in the case of a healthcare or financial service, and more. Depending on how a retailer approaches in-store location tracking corporate, industry and governmental policies and regulations may come in to play.
 
For example, in the case of children, the retailer should consider the implications of COPPA - Children's Online Privacy Protection Act. In a healthcare situation, HIPPA may apply. However, the policy and legal part of the discussion should also be balanced with customer expectations and their desired level of interaction with the retailer.
 
Privacy boundaries are personal, what one person may find to be a valuable service another may find "creepy" and intrusive. The best practice for any commercial entity to address the issues of privacy is to start by  following the core pillars of privacy management: choice (consumer can choose to participate or not), control (they have control of the aspects of participating), transparency (the marketer is completely transparent as to what is going on and how they'll use data, if any, that’s collected) and security --  the marketer is employing best practices in data security.  
 
The exact implementation strategies on how the retailer adheres to these pillars vary greatly depending on their context, on their customers, on the current legal precedents, and how they implement their solutions, etc.
 

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