By Jennifer Martinez - 04/01/13 09:45 PM EDT
However, Franken said Euclid's privacy protections don't go far enough because it requires shoppers to visit its website and opt out of its tracking technology. Instead, he argues that shoppers should grant Euclid permission to cull data from their smartphones and wireless devices first.
“People have a fundamental right to privacy, and tracking a consumer's location and movements without permission violates that right,” Franken said in a statement. “I believe that Euclid has a sincere desire to protect consumer privacy, and I'm pleased that they've pledged to do even more — including a promise to never sell consumer data to data brokers. However, Euclid's use of opt-out location tracking — regardless of whether a consumer actually enters a store equipped with this technology — simply doesn't meet the standard of privacy Americans should be able to count on."
"I’m pleased that privacy is a priority for Euclid, but their continued use of opt-out technology underscores the need for Congressional action to protect consumer location privacy,” Franken added.
In his response to the senator, Euclid CEO Will Smith stressed that the company's system does not collect shoppers' names, email addresses or other personal information. Smith said the company's sensors pick up a Wi-Fi-enabled device's signal, scrambles the device's unique identifier and sends that anonymous data to its servers.
Smith said the company only provides metrics to its retailer clients about consumers' behavior.
"Euclid cannot and never will receive any information relating to names, addresses, phone numbers, emails, etc. That information is not on our servers and therefore is never at risk for breach," Smith writes.
He added that the company does "not have any plans to sell, rent or disclose" any of its data to data brokers or other third-party entities.
Smith also promised that the company will take additional steps to bolster its privacy practices. For example, the company will require retailers to complete a education program about its opt-out process and write a formal policy that outlines its requirements for when it will comply with a government request for data.
Smith did not respond to a request for comment on Franken's continued concern with Euclid's technology.
A Franken aide said the senator's concerns with Euclid would not be addressed unless the company required users to opt in to its service.