Tags: apps | location | advertisers | people | spy

NY Times Study: Apps Are More Intrusive in 'Spying' on People

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By    |   Monday, 10 December 2018 02:35 PM

As smartphones have become so commonplace and technology more accurate, an industry of snooping on people’s daily habits has become widespread and grown more intrusive, The New York Times reported on Monday.

At least 75 firms receive anonymous, precise location data from apps whose users enable location services to get, for example, weather reports, according to a study conducted by The Times. Several of those companies claim to track up to 200 million mobile devices in the U.S., about half those in use last year.

The Times study, conducted from a sample of information gathered last year and held by one firm, shows people’s travels in startling detail and accuracy.

These firms then sell, utilize or analyze the data to offer valuable information to other companies such as advertisers, retail outlets or even hedge funds seeking seeking insights into consumer behavior, a market that has reached approximately $21 billion this year.

Although companies say they are interested in the technology for the patterns, not the identities, that the data reveals about consumers and note that the information apps collect is not connected to someone’s name or phone number, those with access to the raw data can identify a person relatively easily without consent.

Many location firms insist the data is obtained without deceit because phone users enable location services, but The Times study found that the explanations people see when asked to give permission are often incomplete or misleading.

Sen. Ron Wyden, who has proposed bills to limit the collection and sale of such data, told The Times that “it’s not right to have consumers kept in the dark about how their data is sold and shared and then leave them unable to do anything about it.”

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As smartphones have become so commonplace and technology more accurate, an industry of snooping on people's daily habits has become widespread.
apps, location, advertisers, people, spy
Monday, 10 December 2018 02:35 PM
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