Tag Archives: Tracking

Your phone talks about you behind your back. These researchers are listening in

by Alfred Ng, c|net

They’re keeping track by tracking the trackers that track you.

When you download an app, the permissions requests and privacy policy are usually the only warnings you’ll get about the data it’s taking. Usually, you just have to take the app’s word that it’s grabbing only the data you’ve agreed to give it.

Continue reading Your phone talks about you behind your back. These researchers are listening in

All the Ways Facebook Tracks You—and How to Limit It

by David Nield, WIRED

If you have a Facebook account—and even if you don’t—the company is going to collect data about you. But you can at least control how it gets used.

It won’t come as much of a surprise that Facebook tracks you on its platform—that’s why it can resurface your birthday photos from five years ago—but you might not yet realize the scope and the depth of its tracking all across the internet. Facebook’s tentacles stretch out across other websites and services, into the various apps you’re using on your phone, and to the places you physically visit in the real world—especially if you decide to check in on Facebook while you’re there.

Continue reading All the Ways Facebook Tracks You—and How to Limit It

How to Block the Ultrasonic Signals You Didn’t Know Were Tracking You

by Lily Hay Newman, Wired

Dystopian corporate surveillance threats today come at us from all directions. Companies offer “always-on” devices that listen for our voice commands, and marketers follow us around the web to create personalized user profiles so they can (maybe) show us ads we’ll actually click. Now marketers have been experimenting with combining those web-based and audio approaches to track consumers in another disturbingly science fictional way: with audio signals your phone can hear, but you can’t. And though you probably have no idea that dog whistle marketing is going on, researchers are already offering ways to protect yourself.

The technology, called ultrasonic cross-device tracking, embeds high-frequency tones that are inaudible to humans in advertisements, web pages, and even physical locations like retail stores. These ultrasound “beacons” emit their audio sequences with speakers, and almost any device microphone—like those accessed by an app on a smartphone or tablet—can detect the signal and start to put together a picture of what ads you’ve seen, what sites you’ve perused, and even where you’ve been. Now that you’re sufficiently concerned, the good news is that at the Black Hat Europe security conference on Thursday, a group based at University of California, Santa Barbara will present an Android patch and a Chrome extension that give consumers more control over the transmission and receipt of ultrasonic pitches on their devices. Continue reading How to Block the Ultrasonic Signals You Didn’t Know Were Tracking You