Anonymous Profiles Used for Tracking Gadget Adverts

22 Apr

Anonymous Profiles Used for Tracking Gadget Adverts

You must have noticed how the same adverts manage to turn up in the different websites you’re browsing. Well now, companies have taken it one step further by developing a tracking system between the different gadgets you use. It doesn’t matter if you’re currently on your iPhone, iPad or laptop – the advertisements popping up will correspond to your anonymous online profile.

How Does this Work?

Drawbridge utilizes the same technique used to track people as they shift from one website to another. An anonymous profile is made of every user with data being collected based on their browsing habits. Using high-end statistics, this information is used to calculate the probability of which user is currently using what gadget. From here, Drawbridge spits out the most likely advertisements that fits the user’s profile. This rapid calculation of probability happens even as you shift from one gadget to another, regardless of where you may be at a given time.

Drawbridge uses cookies in order to track and create profiles for users. These cookies are typically used by websites to identify their visitors but Drawbridge takes it one step further. They store cookie logs, identifying the browser being used for access and storing this in their data profile. With millions of cookies collected, Drawbridge can start comparing different browsing movements in order to tailor profiles for advertisements.

Privacy and Security

You’re probably thinking: what about my privacy as a consumer? The good news is that Drawbridge has thought of this too. Although the advert tracking system seems to be too close for comfort, no identifiable information is exchanged during the process.

All profiles made from the collection of browsing information cannot track any users using any data like log in names, email addresses or their location during use. Drawbridge instead relies on the tried and tested method of “triangulation” to increase the chances of profiling the anonymous user. Once a person’s profiled, they will be getting tailored advertisements on whatever gadget they may be using.

Developments and Results

Drawbridge isn’t available in the UK yet as further information is required by the government. According to a spokesman for the Information Commissioners Office of UK, some regulations must first be met before a launch is given the go signal. First off, the anonymity of the users must be 100% guaranteed and that there is no chance of that anonymity being revealed even inadvertently.

Reports from Drawbridge revealed that so far, they have managed to create profiles for more than 200 million users. The same users have been connected to the different gadgets they use every day whether it’s at home, in the office or at a coffee shop.

ByMichael Gilmore

Gilmore's research interests include social studies, law, technology and IT. He worked a lot in the field of jurisprudence. Gilmore also actively participates in the creation of technology and design for mobile phones and laptops, starting in 2012.