The NY Times is reporting on mobile apps that track your movements after users agree to enable location services
Personal injury lawyers are buying advertisements from ad firms that are clients of tracking location companies. When they detect a person in an emergency room, the advertising sent to the phone is customized to target people who might have been in an accident. The NY Times was able to use the anonymous data to correctly identify nuclear plant employees, nurses, a police officer working on a homicide case, jail workers, teachers, AA members, weight watchers members, etc. Some of the people they tracked were willing to discuss their feelings on data collection in the article. More than 1,200 apps contain the tracking code. "Location data companies pay half a cent to two cents per user per month, according to offer letters to app makers reviewed by The Times."
Posted by cageymaru 2:58 PM (CST)
Businesses say their interest is in the patterns, not the identities, that the data reveals about consumers. They note that the information apps collect is tied not to someone's name or phone number but to a unique ID. But those with access to the raw data -- including employees or clients -- could still identify a person without consent. They could follow someone they knew, by pinpointing a phone that regularly spent time at that person's home address. Or, working in reverse, they could attach a name to an anonymous dot, by seeing where the device spent nights and using public records to figure out who lived there.