Short Pump mall suspends cell-phone tracking program

Short Pump Town Center and another shopping mall in California have stopped tracking shoppers' cell phone signals temporarily, following a request from U.S. Senator Charles Schumer of New York. CNNMoney was first to report the announcement.

Short Pump Town Center and the Promenade Temecula in southern California (both Forest City Enterprises properties) began tracking the cell phone signals of shoppers on Black Friday in an attempt to cull information about their habits. Though the tracking was done anonymously, it raised concerns among some shoppers and other observers who felt it still was a violation of privacy.

Both malls had put signs up on their properties to alert shoppers of the program and advising them to turn their phones off if they did not want their phones to be tracked. The malls planned to continue the program through New Year's Day.

"A shopper's personal cell phone should not be used by a third party as a tracking device by retailers who are seeking to determine holiday shopping patterns," Schumer said in a statement, according to CNNMoney. "Personal cell phones are just that -- personal. If retailers want to tap into your phone to see what your shopping patterns are, they can ask you for your permission to do so."

Forest City officials said that they have suspended the tracking program in order to work with its developer to address the concerns raised by Schumer and to discover if there are easier ways to allow shoppers to opt out.

Schumer had expressed concern that even though the malls were tracking shoppers anonymously, the possibility existed that the data could be available to hackers, who might then be able to connect to shoppers' personal information.
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FirstComp Insurance Company, Markel Corp. named top insurance carriers


Two Glen Allen-based insurance carriers have been named among the top such companies in the nation.

Markel Corp. and FirstComp Insurance Company (now owned by Markel) are among 38 carriers recognized on the Insurance Business America list of the top insurance carriers in the country. > Read more.

Walmart honors Citizen’s ‘Top Teachers’ during grand opening


The much-anticipated new Walmart Supercenter in Eastern Henrico opened to busy crowds last week, and company officials welcomed a special group of shoppers, too. > Read more.

‘It’s such a blessing’


On Independence Day, a Brazilian-born Henrico resident took the Naturalization Oath of Allegiance on the steps of the Virginia Historical Society and felt peace finally settle around her.

Jeanette Hamlett’s journey to U.S. citizenship is a story of faith and love, which she told with her husband, John Hamlett, by her side. > Read more.

Preschoolers give pillows to families in need


A group of preschoolers from Chesterbrook Academy Preschool donated 56 pillows to local families in need at the Housing Families First shelter. The shelter is always in need of pillows and linens as, since families take the donated ones with them to their new homes.

Housing Families First provides shelter and support for homeless families and assist them in finding a permanent housing solution. The shelter serves people year-round, said Terri Iguina, operations and volunteer manager at Housing Families First. > Read more.

Dairy Queen’s Blizzard sales July 27 to benefit Children’s Hospital of Richmond


Dairy Queen’s 13th Annual Miracle Treat Day – Thursday, July 27 – will raise fund to benefit sick and injured children being treated at Children's Miracle Network hospitals throughout the United States. Locally, $1 or more from every Blizzard Treat sold at participating locations will be donated to the Children's Hospital of Richmond at VCU. Last year, the event raised more than $14,400 for the hospital. > Read more.

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The Henrico County Division of Fire and Henrico Area Mental Health & Developmental Services (MH/DS) will present a free class on how to administer naloxone to potentially save the life of someone who has overdosed on opioids. The Revive! Opioid Overdose and Naloxone Education for Virginia class will be held from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the MH/DS offices at 4825 S. Laburnum Ave. The class is open to the public and will provide hands-on instruction on how to administer the drug in its nasal spray form. Participation will be limited to the first 50 registrants. To sign up, go to http://surveymonkey.com/r/9Q35Q6T or call (804) 727-8574. Callers will be asked to leave an email address where they can receive a link to register for the class. Full text

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