‘ TWITTER’S MOBILE ADVERTISERS TRACK YOUR DATA USING THE VERIZON UNDELETEABLE TRACKING CODE ‘

#AceNewsServices – Featured Post: Jan.03: Twitter’s mobile advertising arm enables its clients to use a hidden, ‘ undeletable ‘ tracking number created by Verizon to track user behaviour on smartphones and tablets:

' Verizon Tracking Code being used by Twitter Advertisers '

‘ Verizon Tracking Code being used by Twitter Advertisers ‘

By Julia Angwin and Jeff Larson
ProPublica, Oct. 30, 2014, 10:59 a.m.

Twitter is using a newly discovered hidden code that the telecom carriers are adding to every page you visit – and it’s very hard to opt out.

Does Your Phone Company Track You?

CHECK FOR TRACKING CODE Click from your smartphone or tablet (with Wi-Fi turned off) to see if your telecom provider is adding a tracking number. We don’t save any information.

Wired and Forbes reported earlier this week that the two largest cellphone carriers in the United States, Verizon and AT&T, are adding the tracking number to their subscribers’ Internet activity, even when users opt out.The data can be used by any site – even those with no relationship to the telecoms — to build a dossier about a person’s behaviour on mobile devices – including which apps they use, what sites they visit and for how long.MoPub, acquired by Twitter in 2013, bills itself as the “world’s largest mobile ad exchange.” It uses Verizon’s tag to track and target cellphone users for ads, according to instructions for software developers posted on its website.

Twitter Declined to Comment:  

AT&T said that its actions are part of a test. Verizon says it doesn’t sell information about the demographics of people who have opted out.This controversial type of tracking, known in industry jargon as header enrichment, is the latest step in the mobile industry’s quest to track users on their devices. Google has proposed a new standard for Internet services that, among other things, would prevent header enrichment.

People using apps on tablets and smartphones present a challenge for companies that want to track behavior so they can target ads. Unlike on desktop computers, where users tend to connect to sites using a single Web browser that can be easily tracked by “cookies,” users on smartphones and tablets use many different apps that do not share information with each other.

For a while, ad trackers solved this problem by using a number that was built into each smartphone by Apple and Google. But under pressure from privacy critics, both companies took steps to secure these Device IDs, and began allowing their users to delete them, in the same way they could delete cookies in their desktop Web browser.

So the search for a better way to track mobile users continued. In 2010, two European telecom engineers proposed an Internet standard for telecom companies to track their users with a new kind of unique identifier. The proposal was eventually adopted as a standard by an industry group called the Open Mobile Alliance.

Telecoms began racing to find ways to use the new identifier. Telecom equipment makers such as Cisco and Juniper began offering systems that allow the identifiers to be injected into mobile traffic.

In the spring of 2012, AT&T applied for a patent for a method of inserting a “shortlived subscriber identifier” into Web traffic of its mobile subscribers and Verizon applied for a patent for inserting a “unique identification header” into its subscriber’s traffic.  The Verizon patent claims this header is specifically meant to “provide content that is targeted to a subscriber.”

Inserting the identifiers requires the telecom carrier to modify the information that flows out of a user’s phone. AT&T’s patent acknowledges that it would be impossible to insert the identifier into web traffic if it were encrypted using HTTPS, but offers an easy solution – to instruct web servers to force phones to use an unencrypted connection.

In the fall of 2012, Verizon notified users that it would begin selling “aggregating customer data that has already been de-identified” — such as Web-browsing history and location — and offered users an opt-out. In 2013,AT&T launched its version — a plan to offer “anonymous AT&T data” to allow advertiser to “deliver the most relevant messages to consumers.” The company also updated its privacy policy to offer an opt-out.

AT&T’s program eventually shut down. Company spokesman Mark Siegel said that AT&T is currently inserting the identifiers as part of a “test” for a possible future “relevant advertising” service. “We are considering such a program, and any program we would offer would maintain our fundamental commitment to customer privacy,” he said. He added that the identifier changes every 24 hours.

It’s not clear how much of a hurdle changing the identifier would present to a targeting company that was assembling a dossier of a user’s behavior.

Meanwhile, Verizon’s service – Precision Market Insights – has become popular among ad tracking companies that specialize in building profiles’ of user behavior and creating customized ads for those users. Companies that buy the Verizon service can ask Verizon for additional information about the people whose unique identifiers they observe.

“What we’re excited about is the carrier level ID, a higher-level recognition point that lets us track with certainty when a user, who is connected to a given carrier, moves from an app to a mobile Web landing page,” an executive from an ad tracking company Run told an industry trade publication.

And in a promotional video for Verizon’s service, ad executive Chris Smith at Turn, touted “the accuracy of the data,” that the company receives from Verizon.

But advertisers who don’t pay Verizon for additional information still receive the identifier. A Verizon spokeswoman said, “We do not provide any data related to the [unique identifier] without customer consent and we change the [unique identifier] on a regular basis to prevent third parties from building profiles against it.” She declined to say how often Verizon changes the identifier.

The use of carrier-level identifiers appears to be becoming standard. Vodafone, a British telecom, says it inserts a similar identifier into some mobile traffic. A Vodafone spokesman said “Header enrichment is not our default operation and we do not routinely share information with the websites our customers visit.”

However, ProPublica found a handful of Vodafone identifiers in its logs of website visitors. That review also showed more than two thirds of AT&T and Verizon visitors to ProPublica’s website contained mobile identifiers.

And there appears to be no way to opt out. Last week, security engineer Kenn White noticed an Ad Age news article about Verizon’s mobile marketing program and set up a test server to see if he was being tracked.  He had opted out years ago, but he noticed a strange identifier in the web traffic from his phone.

His tweets sparked a flurry of discussion of Verizon’s actions on the Hacker News discussion board, and articles in the technology press.

Software engineer Dan Schmads, an AT&T user, also tried to opt out. He found that he needed to visit four different webpages to opt out, including one web page not even on AT&T’s domain: http://205.234.28.93/mobileoptout/. But he continues to see the AT&T identifier in his mobile traffic.

AT&T’s Siegel told ProPublica that he appreciated the feedback on the difficulty of opting out and that the company plans to streamline the process before launching its service.

“Before we do any new program, we’ll give customers the opportunity to reset their mobile ID at any time,” he said. “It would be like clearing cookies.”

Google has proposed a new Internet protocol called SPDY that would prevent these types of header injections – much to the dismay of many telecom companies who are lobbying against it. In May, a Verizon executive made a presentation describing how Google’s proposal could “limit value-add services that are based on access to header” information.

#ANS2015

#advertisers, #data, #mobile, #tracking

LOUISIANA: ‘ DEMOCRATS FALL BY 18 PERCENT & BLACK VOTERS DECREASED ‘

#AceNewsServices – LOUISIANA – Dec.01 – Early voting did not bring good news for Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu’s (D) hopes of surviving her Dec. 6 runoff against Rep. Bill Cassidy (R) The Hill reported. 

According to data released by the Louisiana Secretary of State’s office, the number of Republicans in the early voting period for the run off increased from early voting ahead of the Nov. 4 jungle primary.

Meanwhile the number of Democrats fell by nearly 18 percent and the number of black voters also sharply decreased.

#ANS2014 

#black-voters, #data, #runoff, #voting

WEST AFRICA: ‘ EBOLA VIRUS CLAIMS 7,000 PEOPLE DATA FROM WHO CONFIRMS ‘

#AceWorldNews – WEST AFRICA – Nov.30 – Almost 7,000 people have died from the Ebola virus in West Africa, according to new data released from the World Health Organization, AFP reported.

According to the UN health agency, of the 16,169 people infected with the deadly virus in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, 6,928 have perished.

The latest figures are about 1,200 more deaths than reported on Wednesday, which AFP attributed to possible “unreported cases.”

#ANS2014 

#data, #died, #health, #perished, #un

‘ US POSTAL SERVICE SAYS EMPLOYEES PERSONAL DATA COULD HAVE BEEN COMPROMISED ‘

#AceBreakingNews – UNITED STATES – Nov.10 – The US Postal Service says employees’ personal data, including Social Security numbers, may have been compromised. Dow Jones reported the total number of staff potentially affected at more than 500,000 CNBC reported.   

In a statement Monday, the USPS said the FBI was leading an investigation. It also said customer credit card data did not appear to be at risk.

“The intrusion is limited in scope and all operations of the Postal Service are functioning normally,” the statement said. “Postal Service transactional revenue systems in post offices as well as on usps.com where customers pay for services with credit and debit cards have not been affected by this incident.”

Customers who contacted the postal service customer care center with an inquiry via telephone or e-mail between Jan. 1, 2014, and Aug. 16, 2014 are also at risk.

The intrusion compromised names, addresses, telephone numbers, email addresses and other information for those customers who may have provided this information, according to the statement.

“At this time, we do not believe that potentially affected customers need to take any action as a result of this incident,” USPS said.

#ANS2014

#cards, #credit, #data, #debit, #personal

' US Government Threaten Yahoo with Fines of $250,000 for Refusal to Provide Data Under Prism'

#AceWorldNews – UNITED STATES – September 16 -The U.S. government threatened Yahoo with daily fines of $250,000 for refusing to hand over user data as part of the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs, Yahoo said Thursday and USA today reported. 

130607163854-nsa-prism-620xa

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review released more than 1,500 pages of previously secret documents related to Yahoo’s 2007 challenge to the government’s demand for data, the company’s general counsel Ron Bell said on Yahoo’s Tumblr page.

No documents were available immediately, but Yahoo is in the process of making them all public, he said.

#ANS2014

#data, #prism, #tumblr, #yahoo

WASHINGTON: ‘ NSA Legal Authority to Collect American Phone-Records Expires – Next ‘

#AceWorldNews – UNITED STATES (Washington) – September 11 Today the National Security Agency’s (NSA) legal authority for collecting Americans’ phone records in bulk is scheduled to expire.

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) has a bill to end that program, but it could take weeks for him to convince Senate leaders to put this bill on the calendar.

In the meantime, the Obama administration is likely to ask for a secretive federal surveillance court to renew the agency’s powers.

#ANS2014

#americans, #data, #national-security-agencynsa, #phone-records, #united-states, #washington

` China’s all ` Seeing Eye’s and ` Satellite Network ‘ can ` Globally Monitor ‘ and they are planning new Ground Stations ‘

#AceWorldNews – BEIJING – April 01 – (RT) – To compensate the frustration over the endless search for missing the Malaysian airliner, Chinese scientists have doubled efforts to promote their project of a huge satellites network, which will enable Beijing to monitor the whole world.

As the mission to find the passenger jet MH370 which disappeared off the radars on March 8 with 239 people on board, 153 of them Chinese, is yet to yield to any substantial result, the space surveillance net project is gaining strong backing from key government officials in Beijing, the South China Morning Post reports.

China currently has satellites in the orbit but they largely focus on its region and surrounding area. The exact number of them is a state secret.

“If we had a global monitoring network today, we would not be searching in the dark. We would have a much greater chance to find the plane and trace it to its final position. The plan is being drafted to expand our regional monitoring capability,” Professor Chi Tianhe, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Institute of remote Sensing and Digital Earth, told the (SCMP) http://www.scmp.com/news/china/article/1460652/china-mulls-global-satellite-surveillance-after-flight-370-riddle

Professor Zhao Chaofang, an oceanographer at the Ocean University of China in Qingdao, also said that China needs to develop more ground stations, to ease and speed up sending data back to earth.

“Many Chinese satellites can only offload their data when they are flying over China, so the data we receive is sometimes only a fraction of the amount collected by the satellites.

To build up a global monitoring network as efficient as that of the US, our ground stations overseas must be expanded as well,” he said.

#ANS2014

#rt, #beijing, #china, #chinese, #data, #satellites, #us