Is Someone Following You Around the Store as You Shop?

Well, they might be – if you are one of the 58 percent of adult Americans who own a smartphone. Each smartphone broadcasts a unique identifying code through signals emitted as the phone searches for available networks. Retailers can track these signals and follow the in-store movements of customers as they shop. Most consumers understand that online stores track shoppers as they navigate around their websites. Yet, few realize some brick-and-mortar retail stores and shopping malls are using smartphone mobile analytics …

What Health Apps Tell Outsiders About You

Hundreds of health applications these days can track our weight, steps, caloric intake, blood pressure – and even our friends’ workouts at the gym. And those diagnosed with an ailment can go online to get answers to health questions or share their stories with others suffering from the same illness. Sure, this can be useful for consumers seeking to take control of their health. These new outlets, however, raise other questions: Who else is looking at our medical information? And …

Are Those Fun Online Quizzes Invading Your Privacy?

What city should you live in? Which Love Boat character are you? What superpower should you have? Fun quizzes are all the rage online these days. Buzzfeed (which says I should live in Portland, Ore.) is leading the charge, but even the scholarly Pew Research Center (“How Millennial Are You?”) and the New York Times (“How Y’all, Youse and You Guys Talk”) have a hand in the fad. The exercises are addictive, shareable, entertaining. So what’s not to like? Here’s …

What Personal Information Is Your Mobile Device Sharing?

“Always on and always on you” describes the extent to which consumers have integrated cellphones, smartphones and tablets into their daily lives. How deeply do consumers depend on these mobile devices? One survey found 44 percent of cell owners have slept with their phone next to their bed because they were afraid to miss any calls, text messages or other updates during the night. As mobile device use continues to increase, there is growing concern that consumers are unaware how …

Nanny Cams in Nursing Homes – Protection or Invasion of Privacy?

Imagine that your mother is in a long-term care facility. On your weekend visits, she’s told you that the nurses and aides there are taking things from her, pinching her and refusing to change her diapers when she soils them. You want to believe your mother, but you’ve been told that her nursing home is one of the best in the state. You also know that your mother has mild dementia and that when you gently raise the issue with …

Stay Safe in the Health Insurance Marketplaces

This week, the Obama administration announced a comprehensive, interagency initiative to fight fraud, prevent privacy violations, and protect consumers in the Health Insurance Marketplaces. AARP applauds this effort, and we encourage the administration to continue to take steps to protect and defend consumers from unscrupulous practices - especially people under the age of 65 who will soon be eligible to sign up for the marketplaces. Unfortunately, we know that there are scam artists who will try to take advantage of Americans as …