Sen. Franken Blasts Euclid For Tracking Smartphone Users In Stores

A lawmaker is slamming Euclid Analytics for tracking people's physical whereabouts via their smartphones.

"It's one thing to track someone's shopping habits through a loyalty card or credit card purchase; folks understand that their information may be collected," Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn) said Wednesday. "It's another thing entirely to track consumers’ movements without their permission as they shop, especially when someone doesn't buy anything or even enter a store."

Euclid, which recently raised $17.3 million in venture funding, uses MAC addresses in smartphones to track people's physical movements in retail stores. The 3-year-old company tracks consumers in Nordstrom and Home Depot, among other stores, according to The New York Times.

advertisement

advertisement

Franken expressed his concerns with the company in a letter to CEO Will Smith. "I think that Americans have a fundamental right to not be tracked without their consent -- especially in the real, 'offline' world where they are less likely to expect it. I also have serious concerns about how Euclid will use, share, and protect the data that it collects from users in this manner," the letter says.

At the same time, Franken acknowledged in his letter that Euclid attempts to protect consumers' privacy by hashing the MAC addresses and only disclosing aggregated data.

The lawmaker asked Smith to answer a set of questions about Euclid by April 1, including how many smartphones it has tracked, where it operates and whether it tracks people who walk by stores without entering. Franken also questions whether Euclid will require law enforcement authorities to obtain warrants before obtaining information about consumers' location records, and whether Euclid can promise that it will never disclose information to data brokers.

Euclid hasn't yet responded to Online Media Daily's request for comment.

1 comment about "Sen. Franken Blasts Euclid For Tracking Smartphone Users In Stores".
Check to receive email when comments are posted.
  1. John Fu from Euclid Inc., March 13, 2013 at 10:51 p.m.

    (I work for Euclid.) Euclid posts in-store signage about our service that links to our opt-out page. We've been engaged in a fruitful discussion with Senator Al Franken and are looking forward to collaborating with him in support of consumer privacy. Our service is built on Privacy by Design principles and our privacy practices have been reviewed by leading experts in consumer privacy. More info at euc.li/franken.

Next story loading loading..