AP news on an iPhone
AP news on an iPhone - 
Listen To The Story


Bill Radke: Remember when the big complaint about cell phones was people bellowing into them? Oh, our phones are so much more -- calendars, music players, web surfers, shopping portals. All that usefulness could be kind of a problem. Today, two consumer advocacy groups are petitioning the Federal Trade Commission to investigate the mobile industry and lay down some privacy rules. Marketplace's Stacey Vanek-Smith has more.

Stacey Vanek-Smith: The Center for Digital Democracy and the U.S. Public Interest Research Group are asking the FTC to investigate how mobile devices can mine data from users.

The Center for Digital Democracy's Jeff Chester says smart phones have gotten a little too smart:

Jeff Chester: We don't think consumers understand that the mobile device they're carrying in fact has been designed to be this kind of commercial surveillance tool.

Chester says right now, marketers can see everything you do on your phone, from buying shoes to banking. They can even find out where you are at any given moment.

Yankee Group media Analyst Daniel Taylor says that is a lot of information, but marketers can already get most of it from your computer, and mobile advertising has some real limits.

Daniel Taylor: The screen is small and most publishers have decided that they're really only going to be able to deliver one ad per mobile web page.

Still, Taylor says, while most parts of the advertising industry are expected to contract over the next few years, he expects mobile advertising to grow about 9 percent.

I'm Stacey Vanek-Smith for Marketplace.

“I think the best compliment I can give is not to say how much your programs have taught me (a ton), but how much Marketplace has motivated me to go out and teach myself.” – Michael in Arlington, VA

As a nonprofit news organization, what matters to us is the same thing that matters to you: being a source for trustworthy, independent news that makes people smarter about business and the economy. So if Marketplace has helped you understand the economy better, make more informed financial decisions or just encouraged you to think differently, we’re asking you to give a little something back.

Become a Marketplace Investor today – in whatever amount is right for you – and keep public service journalism strong. We’re grateful for your support.

Follow Stacey Vanek Smith at @svaneksmith