The New York Times reported that “Frequently, location data companies make packages of code that collect phones’ whereabouts. Developers who add this code to their apps can get paid for location-targeted ads, or earn money for providing the location data, or get free mapping or other services for their apps.” The December 10, 2018 article entitled “How The Times Analyzed Location Tracking Companies” included these comments:
Reporters tested both the Android and iOS versions of 10 apps: nine that had been flagged by academics researching Android devices or by people in the mobile location industry, as well as The Times’s own app.
The Times analyzed the location transmissions from each app by looking for the latitude and longitude where testing was conducted, as well as known Wi-Fi IDs, which can be used to triangulate location. Reporters tallied only the transmissions precise enough to place the device in the correct building.
Reporters examined the websites, marketing materials and privacy policies of the companies receiving precise location data. Companies that deal only in services such as fraud prevention were separated out. Reporters then counted the transmissions of precise location data to advertising, marketing and analysis companies.
Interesting, scary, but not a surprise!