Two ways to stop businesses from tracking you

PHOENIX - You can use a cellphone for just about anything these days.

Find a house, make a movie, even track weight loss.

And for a while now, retailers and airports have been using your cellphone to track you.

Mobile device tracking companies use the same technology that allows for WiFi and Bluetooth to your smartphone.

It's called a media access control or MAC address, and up until recently, companies had free reign to monitor where yours goes and what it does.

Jules Polonetsky is the director for the Washington D.C. think tank, Future of Privacy Forum.

Polonetsky says the Future of Privacy Forum is made of up data security industry professionals and consumer advocates.

He also says the group has been working to create standard operating procedures for companies that use phone location technologies.

'We think people should be able to decline that if they don't want to be apart of it," said Polonetsky.

They also believe the the data can be useful "but only if retailers and airports are doing it in a trustworthy way," said Polonetsky.

But being monitored still makes people uncomfortable, so the advocacy group recently launched the website www.smartstoreprivacy.org.  

It allows you to opt out all together.

"You can put in your WiFi address," said Polonetsky "and 11 of the vendors who do this sort of tracking for thousands of stores will no longer associate info with you."

You will have to give them the MAC address assigned to your device in order to sign up.

Another option is to turn off your WiFi and Bluetooth antenna before entering the store.

A code of conduct is also being finalized. Polonetsky says several of the major players in the mobile data industry have agreed to follow it.

He expects it to be implemented within the next couple of months and to distribute signs to businesses that participate.

The Federal Trade Commission is also looking into the industry and want to hear from you. You can file your comment until March 19.

If you need help or need to warn others about a consumer problem or scam, let me know at joe@abc15.com or by going to my  "Let Joe Know" Facebook page.

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