The price of free WiFi or how retail is watching you (part 2)

    So do you carefully read the usage agreement when you connect to free WiFi? Especially if you log in through a social network.

    In my last article, I described how retail can track the WiFi signal of your cell phone. Initially, the analytics was impersonal, but the technology went further ...



    If you connect to free WiFi and log in through a social network, then the mac address of your device is tied to your account on the social network.

    More and more operators are resorting to this technique. The most striking example is authorization in the Moscow metro. True, there your mac address is associated with a mobile phone number, and not with a social network account.

    From the moment you snap you are “under the hood”. It is enough for your mobile device to turn on the wifi module and all the sensors of this operator in the district know where you are. And not just a depersonalized mac address, but a mac address associated with a specific social network account or mobile phone number. Sensors of other operators still see only an impersonal set of numbers.

    Those stores that are connected to the operator’s system know that the owner of the Facebook page with the nickname Ivan Ivanov regularly passes by their store, but has never come.
    From the same page you can collect information about his gender, age, interests, friends, etc. Further, marketers are involved in the work and are trying in every possible way to lure Ivan Ivanov to the store for shopping ...



    How legal is this? A social network account is not personal data and is not connected with your passport in any way, you voluntarily consent to authorization. From the point of view of the law, formally there are no violations.
    Despite this, operators still acquire licenses for the collection and processing of personal data in order to avoid problems in the future.

    As we see offline and online are increasingly intertwined. Your mobile device becomes the very bridge that connects your real life with a virtual one. And retailers in their pursuit of customer research do not intend to limit themselves to simply collecting data from completed questionnaires.
    What next step are they ready to take?

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