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What Does Your Phone Give Away?

We all know a disturbing amount of information can be gleaned from the smart phones that many of us carry around with us all day, every day. And if you’ve ventured out for protests, this information may have been collected and made public, in a big data sort of way. Here’s more from Engadget:

If you marched in recent Black Lives Matter protests in Atlanta, Los Angeles, Minneapolis or New York, there’s a chance the mobile analytics company Mobilewalla gleaned demographic data from your cellphone use. Last week, Mobilewalla released a report detailing the race, age and gender breakdowns of individuals who participated in protests in those cities during the weekend of May 29th. What is especially disturbing is that protestors likely had no idea that the tech company was using location data harvested from their devices.

Mobilewalla “observed” a total of 16,902 devices (1,866 in Atlanta, 4,527 in Los Angeles, 2,357 in Minneapolis and 8,152 in New York). As BuzzFeed News explains, Mobilewalla buys data from sources like advertisers, data brokers and ISPs. It uses AI to predict a person’s demographics (race, age, gender, zip code, etc.) based on location data, device IDs and browser histories. The company then sells that info to clients so they can “better understand their target customer.”

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