Cell phone seat tracking worries KC shoppers
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Country Club Plaza has hired a technology company that uses data from shoppers’ cellphones to estimate pedestrian counts.
On Tuesday, it was apparent that good weather with the end of the pandemic meant businesses were cashing in.
The Plaza’s owning company, Taubman, said recent post-omicron numbers prove it. He hired technology company Placer.ai to study foot traffic.
It uses data from your smart phone to estimate crowds.
“We don’t see any personal information,” Placer vice president of marketing Ethan Chernofsky said. “We get data from app partners, we anonymize it, it’s anonymized at the app level, we get that data only to run our algorithms and make the guesses.”
Chernofsky said they don’t reveal which apps they work with, but no one under the age of 18 is tracked. He said it was enforced.
Buyers had mixed feelings.
“There might be people around the corner investigating or asking people, and people aren’t going to stop.” says Sharon Prothe. “What are our other options? It’s a digital world.
“I could see the reason why [they’re doing it]but I would probably pass it,” David Zachery said.
Tech expert Burton Kelso said you can opt out by turning off location services in your apps or putting your phone on airplane mode while at the Plaza.
“It’s scary,” Kelso said. “It’s damn scary. There should be full disclosure. There’s always concern every time someone looks into your phone.
FOX4 brought those concerns back to Placer.
“Understanding what the data is for,” Chernofsky said. “Some platforms want to look at you as an individual and bring you the best product, and those are going to focus on the individual information that you have. There are other companies that are really interested in bringing data so that they can make estimates, so there is no personally identifiable information in the system.
In a statement, Taubman said in part, “Placer.ai provides our teams with anonymous, aggregated information, including traffic data, customer cross-purchase patterns, and information about where customers live. clients.”
Placer, a start-up, started in 2018. It now has a thousand customers across the country.
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