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Ad outlet tries using drones to track your phone's location

Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
February 24, 2015
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Irked that advertisers are already trying to pinpoint your phone's location? It might be even harder to escape their grasp if AdNear is successful. The ad intelligence group is experimenting with location-tracking drones that profile audiences in harder-to-reach areas (say, field concerts or pedestrian-only urban areas) by triangulating cellular and WiFi signals. In theory, this will help merchants find ways to attract you when you're walking by.

AdNear is quick to note that it doesn't collect photos, videos or other data that would personally identify you. However, the agency tells VentureBeat that the unmanned vehicles do generate device-specific codes -- if a company could associate a code with a given phone's owner, it could get a sense of that person's habits. It's unlikely that ad drones will uncover your identity and start following you around (AdNear is only concerned about tracking patterns, not people), but that won't be entirely reassuring if you're determined to remain completely beyond marketers' clutches.

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