Jennifer Valentino-DeVries (et al.) at the New York Times wrote a really great piece on the sketchy weather, parking, etc. apps that use your phone’s GPS to track your location every few minutes and send that data to sometimes up to 40 (!) different companies to re-sell in creepy ways:
For example, someone may search online for healthy recipes, but GroundTruth can see that the person often eats at fast-food restaurants. “We look to understand who a person is, based on where they’ve been and where they’re going, in order to influence what they’re going to do next,” Ms. Greenstein said.
Tell All Digital, a Long Island advertising firm that is a client of a location company, says it runs ad campaigns for personal injury lawyers targeting people anonymously in emergency rooms.
In the same vein: I used to solidly be in the “Facebook doesn’t sell your data; it only sells ads targeted using your data” camp, but this NYT Opinion piece by Michal Kosinski has changed my mind. In a nutshell, it’s pretty easy to hyper-target ads, track which specific ad someone clicked, and then link the ad’s targeting characteristics to that person’s username or IP address. In a roundabout way, you’ve now used the ad to purchase data on that person’s gender, age, location, political beliefs, level of education, etc., which you can store and correlate with any other data you have about the person. Read the full article here: Congress May Have Fallen for Facebook’s Trap, but You Don’t Have To