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Emerging Technologies

Wireless Doesn't Mean "No Strings Attached!"

An array of new wireless technologies are allowing innovative companies to create fascinating new products and services. But along with some of those capabilities come concerns about privacy that are dramatically shaping the market for them.

For example, some retailers are considering requiring product manufacturers to includ Radio Frequency ID tags ("RFIDs") in all the products they make. RFIDs allow for better inventory and supply chain management, and can aid in loss prevention. But can RFID's be sewn into the hem of your clothing and identify you as a customer each time you walk by a store? Perhaps. And that scenario is just one of the many questions raised by RFIDs.

Under the FCC's "Enhanced 911" plan, wireless devices will soon be required to transmit the precise location of a caller, accurate to within a few feet. This technology, designed to help emergency crews locate callers in danger, enables a new generation of marketing opportunities tailored not only to consumers' interests but also to their location.

PrivacyClue consultants have specific expertise in privacy issues facing wireless service providers and those who seek to extend their technologies into the wireless marketplace. Designing and building the technology is costly enough. The sooner you consider the intricacies of privacy, the less chance you'll be forced back to the drawing board when a major privacy disaster makes consumers drop that wireless device like a hot potato.

Broadband. The convergence of entertainment media and data services over broadband technologies (both wireline and wireless), companies in the wireless and broadband arenas will have unparalleled access to even more data about consumer behavior and interests. Interactive television services, location monitoring and data gathering technologies embedded in set-top boxes and wireless devices mean that some of the most intractable privacy issues -- including surveillance, profiling, target marketing, and spam -- are colliding on desktops, in living rooms, and even in the palm of your hand.

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