Telefonica, the owner of UK mobile operator O2, is starting to sell your mobile information to anyone who wants it. Dynamic Insights, the big data flogging division of Telefonica has just announced their first product ‘Smart Steps.’
The first product, ‘Smart Steps’, will use fully anonymised and aggregated mobile network data to enable companies and public sector organisations to measure, compare, and understand what factors influence the number of people visiting a location at any time.
Basically, they plan to sell ‘where you’ve been’ information, initially this seems pretty anonymous – but if they add in where you came from, that will be another story.
A spokesman for the company defended their product saying “There’s no disclosure of personal information at all,” it would seem that where you go is not deemed ‘personal information’ to Telefonica.
Is this the thin end of the wedge? I’m sure we will soon see.
A couple of other interesting things about this worth noting:
- The information they are selling is not using your phones GPS – the data is collected constantly by the mobile phone masts, you have zero control over this.
- Telefonica are offering no ‘opt out’ – if you are on one of there mobile networks you will be tracked, and your data will be sold.
There is a well worn cliché about technology companies – ‘if you don’t pay for the service, you are the product’ – it would seem that this no longer holds true, we’re now paying for a service and are also a product to be sold.
I look forward to reading your comments on this one!