Location tracking won't comprise users’ details, claims expert

Big Brother-style tracking technology doesn't collect data, argues Cisco senior manager

Cisco manager claims that Big Brother-style location tracking technology won't compromise users' details - despite tracking their every move

Location tracking technology, which is currently being tested at several leading airports, will not comprise users’ personal details, an expert has said.

Dave Maez, senior manager of product marketing at Cisco, says the tracking kit, which enables a central controller to track mobile devices such as smartphones, laptops and tablets connected to a Wi-Fi network within a specific site, doesn’t collect sensitive information from devices, but simply pinpoints its location and relays it to a central system.

Speaking exclusively to T3, he said: “The network knows your map location, not you – you’re completely anonymous. [From what the controller can see] these devices are just roaming around.

“It only picks up Wi-Fi, not GPS or 4G,” he continued, so the user would need to willingly connect to a Wi-Fi network in order to be tracked.

The technology is currently being tested so not much information has been released so far.

However, T3 understands that there will be two uses for the tech: one for consumers to be guided around a venue (such as to a particular painting in an art gallery) - the user will be able to control the service via an app - and a commercial use (location tracking), whereby a venue owner would be able to track the movements of individuals on their premises.

The kit was tested recently in a store, with astonishing results, claims Maez. “We found that 70 per cent of the customers that went in didn’t purchase anything. We were also able to pinpoint the store’s hotspots, where customers spent the most time browsing, and the sections which weren’t given the time of day.

“The shopkeeper was then able to make decisions on where improvements needed to be made and how he could make improvements to drive customers to other areas of the store.”

Maez refused to give any solid details about which airports and venues are currently testing the kit out, however, he claims that there's huge commerical interest from casinos and retailers, saying: “People pay big money to know when you’re in and out of a building.”