Tracking whilst slacking

Written by:
Date Posted:
2 March 2018

All in the name of advertising.

Tracking you everywhere… 
Now you can’t even get pissed in private 🙁

Well, thanks a bunch Sam Amrani. Thank you very much indeed. Now, thanks to you and your so-called “company” Tamoco, my sneaky slips to the boozer are being tracked. No more “I’ll just take the dog for a walk” cheeky halves for me.

Actually, it’s not just pubs. It’s Starbucks, Pret, train stations, motorway services, the lot. Basically anywhere there’s a hotspot run by BT, Virgin or The Cloud.

Wi-fi hotspots
That massive collection of wi-fifery makes up most of Tamoco’s bag of sensors which is used to track 12 million Brits (100 million worldwide).

As if it made it OK, he dribbled: “Online you’ve had this for years…how many people have spent 20 minutes on this website? Who has put this in their basket?’”

Basically, he joins up data from Wi-Fi hotspots, beacons, GPS, QR codes with stuff like device, battery, date etc to put a massive target on your back (well, your phone) so you can be sold to advertisers.

He reckons it’s OK because it’s providing more personalised ads. Stuff that. It’s OK for him because he is going to be making a shed full of cash.

For us, well, it means we won’t be able to move for Minority Report style ads running down the road after us shouting about a two for one on DoubleMochaChoccaCaramelFrappeLattes. Great.

Give us your data
To get his sneaky little mitts on even more data, his trackware is snuck onto your phone via apps that have users but can’t monetise them. Tamoco has deals in place with over 1,000 apps. The deal is, he gives them cash, they give him loads of data about you without you even knowing about it.

Your data is sort of anonymised. But, they link you to an Ad ID. Researcher Yves-Alexandre de Montjoye from Imperial College London says he reckons he could work out a lot from that. He shouted, angrily: “You have a database with a unique advertiser ID of a person who is using a certain number of apps, that has been moving around the city in certain way, that they constantly monitor over a long period of time. It’s probably not going to be too hard for me to figure out which one of these IDs is yours.”

Now, although it could tell if I had sneaked off to the pub, right now it couldn’t tell that I’d ordered a pint of Maltsmiths or a lager shandy. But, I don’t think it will be long before it can. And for now, it knows where I am down to the nearest step if I am in one of his beaconed up Wi-Fi-Spy zones. How awfully comforting. Sleep well everyone.

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