Shopping centre uses mobile phone data to "monitor visitor levels"

John Wilson tugwilson at
Tue Aug 23 08:52:46 BST 2011

On 22 August 2011 22:22, Tony Naggs <tony.naggs at> wrote:
> Sounds like what is done at som shopping Malls, I think maybe Bluewater was
> mentioned before. (I apologise for not digging out references, but I'm out
> about writing from my mobile phone.)
> Basically the mobile network signalling within the shopping mall is
> monitored (using software defined radio hardware & open source software).
> When a phone registers with a network it gets a temporary device ids (a
> TIMSI if I remember correctly), and these are recorded so the the Mall
> owners can gather statistics on the routes people take through the mall, how
> long they spend in stores, at the food court, etc.. and see how in Mall
> events such as fashion shows, Santa's grotto etc affect behaviour. They
> should not at any point have any information that would identify actual
> people.

So they are collecting very fine grained location data for individual
phones. No doubt the towers log the information which would let you
turn a TIMISI into a telephone number. Handy if there's a riot.

I wonder how long the mall keeps the data

John Wilson

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