Privacy issues can be managed if users can grant connection permissions at the moment of subscription. An independent service would be required to round up the details.
#3347 Created 04/26/2013 Updated 04/26/2013
Absract: A service which manages the granting of permissions from mobile device users to commercial entities that allow remote identification of, and communications with, users' mobile devices. Such a service would buffer the relationship among device owners, communications carriers, and commercial entities, facilitating the transfer of permissions information among carriers, Apps on devices, and commercial services. ----
A friend came up with the great question, which he later blamed on me, of how to use the GPS and communications capabilities of mobile devices to configure "ad-hoc networks", virtual private networks cobbled together on the backs of he cellular carriers, cable companies, and Ma Bell
It took me a while to parse the brilliance of his vision, but the idea of "self-configuring networks" kept returning (he kept bringing it up), wherein networks are created by the voluntary agreement of the nodes, instead of being created through the gathering of nodes by an administration.
The core of the idea involves users giving permissions to business entities to contact ("call") them under specific circumstances, for the purpose of linking their mobile devices into a temporary collection of individual devices to form a network.
The purpose of such an ad-hoc network would be the purpose of any physical network, that is, to provide services to users. Back in the old days, such services had names like "hosting" and "email" and "storage". That is, the services were content-centric, devoted to the details of 'where' data lives, and 'how' it is disseminated.
So, what are they called here in the Re-PostModern age? The content-centric nature of the old days determined the nature of the network's services; it was all about content: carrying it, storing it, vending it.
The relationship-centric trend of modern media suggests that the content of the ad-hoc network is relationships and permissions.
Dig this: A business purposes can be imagined that can take advantage of this combination of permissions from user:
--the permission to contact them on their device,
--the permission to know where they are, and
--the permission to utilize the other sensors on their mobile device for commercial purposes.
The missing link is the ability to recognize mobile devices in a geographic area, and back track to the identities of the humans. It is technically possible, but requires the permission of the carriers (phone companies) to query for the data. Carriers are probably reluctant to cooperate on such schemes on an ad-hoc basis, and it would always require the permission of the account holder.
Permissions, again. Further, these permissions must be given in advance, but utilized on-the-fly.
So, the primary administrative question is how to accommodate the interests of the carriers (it's their network), the users (it's their phone and account), and the business partners (the ones who want to use the network service).
A possible answer is to create the permission-granting process as part of the device user's normal subscription relationship with their provider. We envision a "permission management" service that manages relationships among:
--entities with applications the utilize the ability to communicate with consumers in known locations;
--carriers that have provider relationships with those consumers;
The administrative aspect of the operation is the installation of the appropriate "app" onto mobile devices, that would allow the functionality desired by the business partners. With such a network capability, business models can be constructed that take advantage of these services.
An example (but not necessarily a good one), is the ability of a newspaper to take advantage of its subscriber relationships. As part of the subscription process, a subscriber can agree to participate in a program, giving permission for the publishing company to:
--see which subscribers are within a discrete geographic area;
--contact those subscribers via text or voice;
--communicate with those subscribers for commercial purposes;
--utilize the sensors on the subscriber's mobile device, with permission to re-use the captured live content;
Another example (equally dicey) is the ability of an event organizer (The Denver Broncos) to know the location and identities of certain classes of ticket holders within their stadium facility, and to push features and services to them as data, or to promote other feather to them through media.
A third example (probably true) is the ability of commercial airports to know the identity of large numbers of people who enter into airport facilities, by back-tracking device identities to commercial subscriber relationships.