Local Spam for Local People

Is it just us, or does the wide-ranging deal between Microsoft Corp. and AT&T Wireless Services Inc. (NYSE: AWE) bring the dread prospect of location-based spam a few steps closer? (See AT&T, Microsoft Hit the Road.)

The firms are developing services based around AT&T Wireless's newly installed GSM/GPRS network overlay, which has technology installed that enables the carrier to pinpoint a user roaming in a specific cell site.

With the density of cell sites in a city like New York, this means that AT&T could potentially know where a user is to within a few blocks, perfect for marketers that want to get really direct with their marketing.

We hope that AT&T Wireless and Microsoft are going to have strict rules about who sees the location data and what email can be sent to your inbox when these services come online [Ed note: Uh, that's real likely... Not! You tried Hotmail recently, Dan?]. Otherwise a lot of users are going to be turning off the location services for fear of getting an inbox crammed with local offers of the lewd or ridiculous variety.

— Dan Jones, Senior Editor, Unstrung
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