This is pretty horrible.
“Patients sitting in emergency rooms, at chiropractors’ offices and at pain clinics in the Philadelphia area may start noticing on their phones the kind of messages typically seen along highway billboards and public transit: personal injury law firms looking for business by casting mobile online ads at patients.
The potentially creepy part? They’re only getting fed the ad because somebody knows they are in an emergency room.”
There seems to be some question about the legality of this, which only goes to show that our current privacy laws are entirely outdated and useless.
The article refers to this as “digital ambulance chasing” which it is. Of course, most of us sneer at the very idea of lawyers who chase ambulances looking for clients, but the truth is they did it because it worked. You and I may see an ad from a firm while sitting in an ER and immediately think, “wow what a lowlife, I’d use ANY other firm”, but not everyone would. Some are in a truly vulnerable position and are making decisions based on what is easiest, and there’s a lawyer right there willing to take their case.
Maybe we should all start thinking about the places where we might just not bring our phones. If the government is going to let marketing companies track us using the phone without our permission, how about if we stop bringing them everywhere? Until the laws get changed, that is the one thing we can still control.