Motorola has developed a system that will monitor phone calls and text messages and will pass the information to advertisers. The technology would enable brands to target people based on their location and plans for the day.
The US handset manufacturer stresses that it is only testing the technology and that it would only ever use it with the consent of consumers – possibly in return for cheaper calls. But the news has already sparked “deep concern” among privacy groups.
Under Motorola’s plans, software would be installed on mobile phones that would allow it to search for related words in text messages. If words such as “food” or “hungry” were detected, for example, ads for restaurants in the area could be sent to the user. The technology is currently based around searching text messages but could also be applied to voice calls.
Motorola’s chief marketing officer Kenneth Keller says: “We have a technology which allows us to search, to understand not only where that person might be but also what their interests might be. You figure out if the person is going out for dinner or shopping and trying to find a particular retail outlet, for example.”