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Chapter 7. PRIVACY OVER THE AIRWAVES > There's Gold in Those Profiles

There's Gold in Those Profiles

Mobile operators can predict future revenue streams in several forms: transport (minutes of device use and packets of airtime), m-commerce (mobile commerce), mobile advertising, financial transactions, and sale of customer profile information. It is incredibly valuable for mobile operators to know who is using the telephones, how they use them, where they use them, and so on. As in other forms of electronic communications marketing discussed in earlier chapters, the more detailed the profile of the user, the more valuable the information is to potential mobile service providers, wireless advertisers, and content providers. Everyone is worried that all the mentioned revenue streams could be jeopardized by a demonstrated or perceived breach of security and privacy, spamming or unauthorized 'pushing' of content to devices, or even location and usage surveillance.

Security of mobile phone conversations was more of a concern when analog systems were the standard, rather than the more frequently used digital telephones of today. Without much difficulty, radio scanners could monitor the appropriate radio frequencies and pick up and listen to mobile calls because the networks were unencrypted. This might have been a privacy invasion, and it might have been embarrassing, but it wasn't necessarily illegal.


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