Peter S. Vogel: Is Privacy at Risk with Mobile Purchases?

Peter S. Vogel: Is Privacy at Risk with Mobile Purchases?

Privacy is not mentioned in the recent announcements by many large retailers for use of mobile apps for credit and debit card purchases. However, consumers' GPS data linked to mobile devices will likely lead to less privacy.

In early August, 2012 the New York Times reported that Starbucks teamed up with the mobile payment startup Square will begin processing credit and debit card transactions this fall. 

Shortly after Starbuck's announcement the Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX) was created to offer "consumers a customer-focused, versatile and seamlessly integrated mobile-commerce platform" and the "application will be available through virtually any smartphone."

This is a major announcement by retailers in the US since MCX started with these major retailers companies:

7-Eleven, Inc.; Alon Brands; Best Buy Co., Inc.; CVS/pharmacy; Darden Restaurants; HMSHost; Hy-Vee, Inc.; Lowe's; Michaels Stores, Inc.; Publix Super Markets, Inc.; Sears Holdings; Shell Oil Products US; Sunoco, Inc.; Target Corp. and Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.

Although mobile purchases may be appealing to many consumers, surely the loss of personal privacy increases. Just consider the recent court ruling upholding warrantless tracking of cell GPS data. It is likely that consumers making mobile purchases will learn the hard way that they have no privacy! 

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