grey diaspora
I work in mobile app development and the technology out there to spy on you is pretty insane. There is a whole industry for snooping and reselling data. Here are some examples.

There are several SDKs (software development kits) that offer fingerprinting identity services. Meaning, when someone opens your app, it checks their device ID, IP address, GPS location, email address, etc. and makes a match to an identity. You then use this SDK to track their behavior in your app, such as purchases, interests, demographics, preferences, etc. This data is stored along with all the other apps that use the SDK. Now as an upsell, I can buy all of your behavior data from every other app that uses the same service. From the moment you install the app I know everything about you.

There are SDKs that don’t even offer a service, they just straight up pay the app maker to let their agent sit and collect data and send it up to their servers. Mostly location data.

My favorite is there’s an SDK that actually records the screen while you use the app, and the video gets sent up to the server for the app maker to see how you use their app in real time. It also tracks all of your views, swipes, and button presses tied to the video for analytics.

Basically, you should assume that every moment you are using an internet connected device, you are being observed, scrutinized, and analyzed so that someone can sell you more shit.

They are really good at this, and getting better every year. You think Facebook is listening to your microphone to serve you ads at the moment you are discussing a product? They don’t need to. They know you that well.

Edit: A lot of people are asking for specific examples of this monitoring tech. There are a ton of small players. So an example of location tracking is Tamoco. An example of behavior tracking is (they don't advertise the data mining, but it's a back-end deal). And session monitoring is AppSee or HotJar. There are many more that I haven't heard of.

There are a ton of data resellers out there. They're typically small startups who buy and sell data, and they compete on having the most comprehensive and clean data sets. We get approached by a data reseller maybe once a month, either trying to buy our data or sell us data.

Edit: A lot of people are flippant about this idea because you "don't click on ads" or you "don't buy anything". There are people who aren't interested in just selling you products. How about voting for a particular political candidate, or for/against a ballot measure? How about selling you a particular world view? Propaganda is just like advertising, they're just selling you an idea instead of a product.
#android #ios #programming #development #app #apps #phone #smartphone #sdk #hotjar #facebook #appsee #tamoco #surveillance #privacy #encryption