Track Star

I cannot wait. If GPS tracking and ‘convenience over security’ phones broadcasting their Wi-Fi history wasn’t enough, precise indoor location of users using Bluetooth-based technology is being rolled out. Incredibly accurate, down to the specific aisle you’re standing in. Retailers benefit from knowing all about you as you walk in, allowing them to trade your information freely and data brokers can string together your patterns, and you pay for the privilege. Everybody wins, nearly.

“Finally, most privacy policies are extremely misleading about “non-personally identifiable information.” Bits of data that feel anonymous are anything but when taken together. The Electronic Frontier Foundation provides an excellent overview of academic research that shows these traits can uniquely identify a vast majority of the U.S. population. For example, the combination of ZIP code, birthdate, and gender—all “non-personal information” that Shopkick and many other services collect—is unique for about 87 percent of U.S. residents. That means if an app has this data, it usually has enough that you can be individually identified.”

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