The $24 Billion Data Business That Telcos Don’t Want to Talk About

Just in case you weren’t getting sold out enough by social networks, cloud storage and e-mail providers, your phone carrier has also been selling you out. They have detailed personal information, can monitor your traffic (often selling your browsing habits along with identification to third-parties – see Supercookie), can monitor your location constantly with cell-tower triangulation, have a detailed log of your calls/SMSs and often preload their shady advertising-laden apps onto mobile devices they sell. If charging 20c per SMS message (which costs them around 1c per 1000 texts, a 2000% markup) didn’t indicate their lack of morals, this should do it.

“The service also combines data from telcos with other information, telling businesses whether shoppers are checking out competitor prices on their phones or just emailing friends. It can tell them the age ranges and genders of people who visited a store location between 10 a.m. and noon, and link location and demographic data with shoppers’ web browsing history. Retailers might use the information to arrange store displays to appeal to certain customer segments at different times of the day, or to help determine where to open new locations.”

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