Hyde Park visitors covertly tracked via mobile phone data

This type of detailed tracking of individuals can easily be deanonymised, as it’s usually based on unique MAC or IMSI address on the mobile device. Advertiser databases are instantly cross-referenced to provide specific demographic (and more) data of the individual as they enter an area – it’s already being used in shopping areas to track which shops (and sometimes, which shelves) people go to. Some shops are able to bring up shopper details as they walk in the door, even without prior consent. Do not believe for a second that your privacy is being valued by any company or organisation.

“Officials were able to retrospectively locate park-goers for 12 months using anonymised mobile phone data provided by the network operator EE via a third party. Aggregated age and gender data was also made available during the initiative. If a zone of the park contained more than 50 people at once, it was possible to “drill down” to the aggregated demographic data of visitors to that area too, creating a detailed picture of how different people used the park in previous months.”

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