Shopping: the ultrasound track

Friday 5th May 2017
The future of UCDT shopping?

Researchers have discovered that a considerable number of applications using a new privacy-busting UCDT (ultrasonic cross-device tracking.) technique. The technology emits high-frequency tones in advertisements, billboards, web pages, and across brick-and-mortar retail outlets or sports stadiums. Apps with access to your phone's microphone can pick up these tones to build up a profile about what you've seen, where, and in some cases, even websites you've visited.

Reacting to the news (right) Robert Lipovsky, researcher at ESET, said: “Although the described techniques may sound as science fiction, it’s not overly surprising. At ESET we see privacy-invading advertisement all the time. On the other hand, location tracking based on ultrasonic beacons, while innovative, appears as another method of location tracking, which, sadly, doesn’t raise an eyebrow from most users. And this privacy-ignoring mindset is the biggest problem.

“Technically speaking, the methods are not merely a question of individual apps, but entire advertisement frameworks. Unfortunately, unlike regular malware, ads and their intrusiveness is a sensitive grey area. Nevertheless, when an app or framework crosses the boundary of what is considered acceptable, ESET strictly detects them

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