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UPDATE: The Short Pump Town Center will not track holiday shoppers as planned for the holiday season.  Last week, the parent company of the mall, Forest City Properties, had began collecting data as shoppers were expected to flood the malls for Black Friday deals.

The Short Pump Town Center would track shoppers through the signals from cell phones. CNN.com reports the company suspended the measure at the request of New York U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer. Senator Schumer said the shopper track violates  personal property to determine holiday shopping patterns through someone’s personal cell phone.

The Center for Democracy and Technology speaks out on Short Pump Town Center’s plan to track shoppers during the holiday season. The CDT is a non-partisan, non-profit public interest organization working to protect privacy and free speech over the internet, mobile networks and other new communications media.

The CDT has major concerns with the Short Pump Town Center and its tracking of shoppers this holiday season. The group told the Richmond Times-Dispatch the plan isn’t a good one because it infringes on people’s civil liberties. The mall’s parent company responded saying it’s only tracking how long customers stay in stores and where they will go next.

Short Pump Town Center will be tracking the ID numbers assigned to cellular phones and will not be identifying individual shoppers. Again, personal data isn’t tracked just movement in the mall.

Short Pump Town Center will hang visible small signs warning customers of the shopper track. Consumers can opt out of being tracked by turning off cell phones while shopping.

Short Pump Town Center in Henrico, Virginia and Promenade Temeculain in Southern California are the only two major malls monitoring shoppers movement through the signals from their cell phones.

For more information on how the CDT defends mobile and online privacy, please visit http://socialmedialawnews.com/2011/10/

Happy Holiday shopping shoppers!

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