George Orwell’s dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four shows a government that constantly does surveillance on its people. It’s no wonder that sales of this book spiked during the recent news that the NSA is collecting information on Americans since people are seeing parallel trends. But is it the NSA that’s the only one you should be worried about?
Verizon, Google and several other major retailers are also tracking their customers. Before the news of the surveillance done by the NSA made big headlines a surveillance done by a store chain got little attention from the media. Nordstrom, which is a Seattle based retailer, hired a company to track customers in its 17 stores. A unique number from a customer smartphone was logged as it connected to the store Wi-Fi system. This was then used to track their movement inside the store. When news about this was aired in a Dallas TV station the store immediately stopped the program.
The company responsible for tracking customers in this case was Euclid Analytics which is based in Palo Alto. They say that they have tracked 50 million devices in 4,000 different locations for their 100 clients. While customers are free to opt out from any tracking it’s a very tedious process that involves the input of the device MAC address on the company website.
This isn’t the only company involved in surveillance work as other lesser known companies are also doing the same and selling your data to marketers or any interested party. Mark Herschberg who is the chief technology officer at Madison Logic, a company that sells data to advertisers, said that
We normally think of the NSA as being far ahead of corporate America, but I’m not so sure they are that far ahead anymore. There are thousands of companies out there collecting information on customers, and together they are really aggregating quite a bit of data. Google is reading through your email. Amazon is looking at not just what you buy, but what you shop for.
One of the biggest reasons why various companies want your data is that so it can better provide you with ads that suit your preferences. This in turn will increase the chances of a sale. The downside to this is that the information may fall in the wrong hands such as identity thieves.
If you are concerned that the data on your smartphone might fall into the wrong hands then its best to install a security app on your device. One such app is the 3CX mobile device manager that‘s created for use in the corporate environment and can also be used by individuals. The ability to monitor for malware and inappropriate apps should give you that added peace of mind.
The app has several advanced features such as
- Find & Track Smartphones and Tablets
- Secure Corporate Data on Mobiles
- Manage & Deploy Apps
- Monitor Mobile Device Usage
- Block Rogue Apps
- Enforce Password Policies
- Remote Lock & Wipe