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Friday, July 23, 2021

Inside the Industry that Unmasks People at Scale

Article on this brought to my attention by Bruce Schneier  ... 

Inside the Industry that Unmasks People at Scale

Unique IDs linked to phones are supposed to be anonymous. But there’s an entire industry that links them to real people and their address.

By Joseph Cox

Tech companies have repeatedly reassured the public that trackers used to follow smartphone users through apps are anonymous or at least pseudonymous, not directly identifying the person using the phone. But what they don't mention is that an entire overlooked industry exists to purposefully and explicitly shatter that anonymity.

They do this by linking mobile advertising IDs (MAIDs) collected by apps to a person's full name, physical address, and other personal identifiable information (PII). Motherboard confirmed this by posing as a potential customer to a company that offers linking MAIDs to PII.  ... ' 

Quoted from the comments:  ' ... Multi-dimensional data is never anonymous. Location data is the worst kind. The simple truth is, there can only be a few persons in a certain spot. If you know a few spots, you have a close to 100% certainty who that person was. ...'  

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