Some mobile phone service providers have started selling your personal data to the highest bidder, and not just to advertising firms. Such information could be extremely useful to third party companies looking to develop new businesses in your area.
CNN gives a good example of how your data could be sold and used. If a small business owner wanted to open a new pet store, said owner could buy a marketing report from Verizon for a certain city or area. The report could reveal which locations receive the most traffic from users who do web searches pertaining to pet ownership.
Verizon is the first carrier to publically admit they are collecting and selling your usage data directly to businesses. But all four major US carriers make money from data, mostly through targeted ads.
"At the end of the day, we're getting to a situation where customers are the products that these wireless companies are selling," said Nasir Memon, a professor of computer science at New York University's Polytechnic Institute. "They're creating a playground to attract people and sell them to advertisers. People are their new business."
Granted the data is sold on an anonymous basis, it still feels a bit too intrusive for some. But then again, the selling of customer data isn’t new and certainly isn’t exclusive to the wireless industry. Brian Kennish, a former DoubleClick engineer, says that wireless providers have been sharing location data with third party companies for more than a decade.