Mobile tracking is not a new issue but new research from the University of Washington provide more reasons why digital privacy awareness, knowledge, and education is important.
Privacy concerns have long swirled around how much information online advertising networks collect about people’s browsing, buying and social media habits — typically to sell you something.
But could someone use mobile advertising to learn where you go for coffee? Could a burglar establish a sham company and send ads to your phone to learn when you leave the house? Could a suspicious employer see if you’re using shopping apps on work time?
The answer is yes, at least in theory. New University of Washington research, to be presented in a paper Oct. 30 at the Association for Computing Machinery’s Workshop on Privacy in the Electronic Society, suggests that for roughly $1,000, someone with devious intent can purchase and target online advertising in ways that allow them to track the location of other individuals and learn what apps they are using.
“Anyone from a foreign intelligence agent to a jealous spouse can pretty easily sign up with a large internet advertising company and on a fairly modest budget use these ecosystems to track another individual’s behavior,” said lead author Paul Vines, a recent doctoral graduate in the UW’s Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering.
Direct to Research Paper Cited in Article: “Exploring ADINT: Using Ad Targeting for Surveillance on a Budget — or — How Alice Can Buy Ads to Track Bob”