Phone applications monitor their owners' locations to help advertisers and businesses

US experts say dozens of companies are tracking smartphone owners to help advertisers and even help financial institutions. It claims that such monitoring is not conducted in a personal manner, ie, identity is not checked;

Lisa Magrin, 46, who is on a regular day-to-day flight, takes her smart phone with her. An application on her phone collected information about her whereabouts and later sold it without her knowledge.

A database of more than a million phones in the New York area, accessed by US experts, revealed that the application recorded the woman's whereabouts about every two seconds. Magrin's identity was not disclosed in these records, but the experts were able to easily link it to a visible point on the map. The map usually shows millions of points pointing to highways, alleys, and bicycle paths, each tracking the path of an anonymous mobile phone user.

– Tracking and monitoring

Magren learns what most people know, that applications can track people's movements. But with the proliferation of smartphones and increased technology accuracy, sniffer technology is expanding on people's everyday habits and growing to become more intrusive.

Lisa Magren travels regularly from her home to the school where she works, and has been registered more than 800 times while in her class. Her records also included a visit to the doctor's office. In an expert review of data recorded over four months, the Magrin site was recorded more than 8,600 times, once every 21 minutes.

Experts found that at least 75 companies received accurate location data from applications where users use "location services" to receive local news, weather, and other information. Many of these companies claim to track about 200 million mobile devices in the United States, about half of the devices used last year. But the expert database, a sample of information gathered in a single company in 2017, revealed people's movements in astonishing detail in a distance of only a few meters. Sometimes, their data were updated more than 14,000 times. Today.

These companies sell and analyze data to advertisers, retail outlets, and even financial institutions such as hedge funds seeking consumer behavior. This market is getting hotter with advertising sales targeting geographically increasing to 21 billion this year. IBM has entered into this field by buying The Weather Channel applications, and Social Network has re-established itself as a place data marketing company, and is one of the leading investors in the field of start-up companies Goldman Sachs and Peter Thele , A founding partner of PayPal.

– Behavior patterns

Companies say their interests lie in the patterns that data reveal about consumers rather than identities. She pointed out that the information collected by applications is not related to the name of a person or his phone number, but a distinctive identity. But companies that can access raw data, such as employees and customers, can always identify someone without their consent. It can also monitor someone you know, by locating the phone of a second person who spends his or her time constantly at the home address of the target; or, in reverse, by connecting a name to an unknown point, Lives there.

Places companies say that when users are using Location Services, their data becomes easy to target. But experts have found that the explanations people get when they are urged to give permission to locate them are incomplete or misleading. An application may promise users that granting permission to access their site may help them get information about the status of the traffic, but does not know that the data will be shared and sold. This recognition is often hidden in a loose privacy policy.

"The site's information reveals some of the most intimate information about human life, such as doctor visits, professional meetings, and even more," said Oregon State Sen. Ron Wyden, who recently proposed a law to limit the collection and sale of data that is not regulated by US laws. Identity of the intimate partner ». "We can not keep consumers obsessed with how to sell and share their data, leaving them unable to do anything about it."

– Mobile monitoring devices

The telephone positioning sector began as a way to personalize targeted applications and ads for nearby companies, but it has evolved into a data collection and analysis machine.

Retailers seek out companies that track customers for information about them and information about their competitors. "We are trying to understand the nature of the person through the places he visited and the places he will visit, in order to influence what he will do in the future," says Elena Greenstein, executive director of Groundwater.

Financial companies can use this information to make investment decisions. Health care is one of the most attractive areas for tracking, but at the same time a source of trouble. Expert analyzes have shown that prisons, schools, military bases, nuclear power plants and even the possibility of crimes were in the data packets obtained by monitoring applications.

More than 1,000 popular applications with software to share the phone's location with companies are revealed in the 2018 report. It also shows that Google's Android system has about 1,200 applications with similar software, compared with 200 applications in iOS from Apple.

The most productive company was North Carolina-based Revil Mobile. The company has software to collect site data in 500 applications, most of which are local news. A spokesman for Reville said the popularity of the code showed that it helped app developers gain advertising revenue and get consumers free services.

To evaluate site sharing practices, experts have investigated 20 applications that most researchers believe are likely to share data. In the results, it was found that 17 of them send the same data to about 70 companies. WeatherBug Weather News on iOS, one of these applications, shared the same data with almost 40 companies.

Profit taking

These applications form the nerve of the new economy based on location data. Application developers can make money by selling data directly or by sharing it with ads that charge money instead. Application developers' display messages revealed that data companies paid between half a cent and two years per user per month.

Targeted ads are the most common use of data to date. Google and Facebook, which control the mobile advertising market, control site-based ads as well. The two companies collect data from their applications, claiming that they do not sell data; they keep it for them to personalize their services, ads for online promotion, and to see if advertising helps increase traditional store sales. Google, which receives specific location information from applications using advertising services, has revealed that it has modified that data to reduce its accuracy.

Small businesses compete for the rest of the market and sell data and analysis to financial institutions. Obimas, a market research firm, said the industry is small but growing, and is expected to reach 250 million a year by 2020.

Apple's and Google's commercial interests may require them to keep developers happy, but both have taken the necessary steps to limit site data collection. According to the latest Android updates, unused applications collect data "a few times per hour" instead of collecting them continuously.

Apple, however, has shown greater rigor, and has forced applications to justify the details of data collection in messages it presents to the user. But Apple's instructions to write these messages do not mention marketing or selling data, but other things like getting "estimated traffic times." A company spokesman disclosed that Apple was allowing developers to use the data to provide the service directly connected to the application, or to advertising services that meet Apple's conditions only.

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Nawfal Mohammed

Hello I am a student at law college and I am still studying i'M GOOG IN : Blogging, MMA fighter, Designer, Website Management, Bodybuilding, etc BUT my Hobbies :Learn languages, horseback riding, motorcycles and more

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