26/07/2014 Click


Gadgets, websites, games and computer industry news, In this episode, how much your phone is saying about you, without your knowledge, plus how to bend tech to your own bidding.

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have been detained at the border with Mexico, mostly in drug`related


violence and poverty. Now, it is time for Click.


Hi, just to let you know, I am male and I really like watches. I work in


London, but I pass by here every weekend. I am 41 years old, but I am


a massive fan of One Direction. Your movements, your habits, your


interests. Welcome to Click, I am Spencer


Kelly, and welcome to York. This is an ancient English city, but it is


doing some 21st`century things. Of the millions of tourists who visit


here every year, more and more want to go online while they are here


using their smartphones, and York is one of the first UK cities to offer


its own citywide free Wi`Fi. Now, I say free, but we'll know what they


say about free lunches, there are none. So, do you wonder what you are


giving up when you go online? These dots are shop customers, moving


around the store in real time. It is actually their mobiles that are


being tracked, and it is happening without their owners' knowledge.


When your device is searching for a Wi`Fi network, it repeatedly


broadcasts short pings of information, which includes its MAC


address, a numerical code. The system listens for the pings and by


triangulating their Origin it can get tricky accurate idea of where


you have been, even if you never actually connect to the Wi`Fi. From


this location map, we know exactly where a lot of people are spending


time, and we can filter the data, how many minutes they are spending.


For example, if they are spending three minutes in the chilled area,


that helps us to improve the area. Although the system doesn't tell it


anything about you, as soon as you connect to the free Wi`Fi offered


everything changes. When you login with Facebook, Twitter, or an e`mail


address, all of that historic location data is then linked to your


profile, to you. And it is not just within the walls of the shop at the


Wi`Fi system logs data, it also picks up thousands of passers`by


everyday, many of whom may never enter the shop at all. Now, this


system works in something the size of a shop, but in York, the


analytics company behind it, Purple WiFi, is planning something on a


much larger scale. By 2015, it is hoping to install the same tracking


technology across whole parts of the city. Unlike the shop`based system,


at the moment it is still quite limited, and only tracks your rough


location, even once you have logged on. Even that information is proving


useful to the York council. It is early days, but already we can


actually tell the people who are using the Wi`Fi, where they are


coming from in terms of Origin, and where they are going inside York. It


gives us a better insight into the foot fall. We see a vast number of


people who are logging on are middle`aged females from outside the


UK. When the full location tracking and profile system goes live next


year, the deal will be this. You get free Wi`Fi in exchange for


information about who you are and where you have been. So, is this a


fair trade? Purple WiFi's boss told me that you would see plenty of


benefits if you are willing to give up that information. In a city type


scenario, like this, it is understanding where the choke points


are, where is the traffic of people, how do they move? If you take it a


step forward you can take that data and control lighting or parking. Why


are the lights on if there are no people there? It does mean that


before you log onto the Wi`Fi you don't have so much information about


that particular device's movements, which I guess is annoying. It is and


it isn't. There is a value in understanding how devices generally


move around, because we get anonymous data, so that is useful.


Where it becomes really useful is once we know more about you, your


age, social interests, gender, who you are friends with, that is when


we can start to push hyper local relevant information. Here is the


thing. Remember this system can match personal information to your


device's movement before you log onto the network? Well, Purple WiFi


is planning to keep that location data for up to a year. How do you


think people will feel about you knowing that? We won't be tracking


you for 12 months, we are tracking a device. A device that you now know


is mine. Absolutely. Every bit of feedback is that if you are giving


me something relevant, I am happy. If you are sending me a load of


spam, don't bother. All this information is there in the terms


and conditions that need to be accepted before you logon. You know,


those terms and conditions, the ones that we all read thoroughly before


we click OK... You think people actually read them? Do you think


that clicking 'Yes' to terms and conditions goes far enough? I think


so. There is a value trade. You will get a free Wi`Fi, which comes at a


small trade of your personal information. Is there an option for


people who use the Wi`Fi being able to opt out of having their


information tracked? No. I don't think there should be. It is a fair


exchange. There is a cost to put the equipment, the overlay of software,


and it is a fair exchange value. You want free Wi`Fi up because you don't


want to use up your data. The exchange value is that you will


share that data. These insights are only possible because of a unique


combination of location information and demographic social media


information. The harvesting of anonymous device information is


described as a grey area in terms of data protection. Last year, the city


of London banned Wi`Fi enabled dustbins installed on public


streets, after it emerged that they were logging MAC addresses is in a


similar way, without getting explicit consent from passers`by.


Although you just heard Gavin Wheeldon tell me he didn't think


there should be an option to opt out of having your MAC address recorded,


after our interview, Purple WiFi got back in touch with us and said they


may consider an opt out system. I'm not sure how definite that sounds to


you, but anyway... This issue of opting out has already reared its


head in the US. We went to Washington to investigate something


called the Wireless Registry, which may allow you to take back control


of the data associated with your phone.


If the idea of constant retail tracking doesn't appeal to you, what


can you do about it? As we have seen, your phone sends out a unique


identifier called a MAC address. One start`up, called the Wireless


Registry, wants to help people take back control of what it calls your


proximal identity, the signals you commit from your smartphone. We are


allowing people to take control of their signal and decide what is


associated with it. The idea is to allow people to take control of


their smartphone identity, they can register and decide what is


associated with the identity. With the Wireless Registry, you can


choose to opt out of having their data associated with your MAC


address tracked. It has created the platform, smartstoreprivacy.org,


where you can enter your MAC address for Wi`Fi and Bluetooth, and a range


of major retail traders say they won't track your information. This


code of conduct is being followed, which is focused at American users,


but the wireless register wants to take it around the world. We have


intended from day one to be global. We take every character set around


the world, and we are in discussions globally, and we think that is just


another barrier that has been in the way in the past for developers. In


the US, where you don't have general data protection rights to protect


you against this kind of tracking, the Wireless Registry opt out is a


step forward. I do think that most people won't be aware that the


technology is being used at all, never mind that they have to go and


register with a specific opt out registry. Not only do people not


know where to look, but when you do find information about privacy it


can be confusing. People are campaigning to make privacy terms


and conditions associated with websites much more readable and


transparent. A recent study by Deloitte said it would take the


average user up to 31 hours per year to properly read through the terms.


I don't think it is wrong to say that so long as there is a privacy


policy that someone has clicked OK to, they have consented to


everything in it. In recent weeks we heard Apple was working on creating


a new privacy platform for its iOS8 operating system. It will randomise


MAC addresses, so the unique identifier may be different every


time. If they go ahead with it, it could be a huge blow for retail data


collection. Of course, you could just turn off your blue Bluetooth


and Wi`Fi on your phone. That is not what the Wireless Registry wants you


to do. As well as the opt out option, there is an opt in, allowing


you to share your personal data and control the wireless identity you


broadcast around you. I signed up and created my own hotspot and


linked my social networks to it. We can attach your LinkedIn, Facebook


and Twitter to your wireless signal, so any time you want someone to pick


it up by being in proximity to you, they can see your social media. I


can click on your Twitter and would be able to follow your feed just by


being within proximity. While it appear strange to some that a


stranger could sit next to you and see so much personal data, at least


now there are systems emerging that allow us to control what other


people say. That is it for the short version, if you want more, go to


either player. The full version of the programme is there right now. We


will see you next time.


This time on Click we show you how much your phone is saying about you, without your knowledge. And we find out how to bend the tech to our own bidding as we turn a London street into a musical wonderland.

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