The Naked Scientists

The Naked Scientists Forum

Author Topic: How is my location tracked on mobile phones?  (Read 1910 times)

Offline cheryl j

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 1460
  • Thanked: 1 times
    • View Profile
How is my location tracked on mobile phones?
« on: 13/10/2012 23:30:06 »
While standing in a Giant Tiger (which is a store) I made a cell phone call and instantly I got an email on phone from Giant Tiger. How did they track me?
« Last Edit: 26/04/2013 20:17:59 by chris »


 

Offline RD

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 8125
  • Thanked: 53 times
    • View Profile
Re: While standing in a Giant Tiger
« Reply #1 on: 14/10/2012 02:43:03 »
Technically a cellular repeater in the store could eavesdrop on calls made in the store ...
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cellular_repeater#Approval_in_the_USA_by_the_FCC
but that seems illegal to me.

Bluetooth is another possibility that the store knows your phone is in the store ...

Quote
    Bluejacking has been used in guerrilla marketing
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bluejacking


a RFID tag somewhere on your person (in the phone or a store card) could give your position away ...

Quote
A primary RFID security concern is the illicit tracking of RFID tags. Tags, which are world-readable, pose a risk to both personal location privacy
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rfid#Security_concerns

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rfid#Privacy
 

Offline CliffordK

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 6321
  • Thanked: 3 times
  • Site Moderator
    • View Profile
Re: While standing in a Giant Tiger
« Reply #2 on: 14/10/2012 06:54:09 »
Who is your e-mail provider?

I've tried Google Searches from my cell phone, for example searching for a nationwide bank chain, and the phone is smart enough to tell me where the nearest branch is located.

Presumably you have configured your cell phone to periodically check for new mail.  I wouldn't be surprised if the free e-mail providers would start tracking the automatic e-mail checks from the cell phones, and send ads based on certain IP addresses/locations.

I'm doubting that it had anything to do with your phone call...  as that would be pretty sophisticated for your phone to send out an e-mail address.  Although, your phone might automatically check for new mail when you hang up the call.

Perhaps try an experiment with somebody's company blackberry, or a couple of different E-Mail providers.

However, while this may be a unique service that a few chain stores subscribe to, it could be very annoying if every store did it.  Imagine cruising around a shopping mall and getting hundreds of e-mails. 

BTW, does this store chain ordinarily have your e-mail address based on other transactions?

I would think the store could have huge liability issues if they are truly doing packet sniffing without disclosing it in BIG OBVIOUS PRINT somewhere.
 

Offline RD

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 8125
  • Thanked: 53 times
    • View Profile
Re: While standing in a Giant Tiger
« Reply #3 on: 14/10/2012 13:52:53 »
If it's a Wi-Fi enabled phone that's another possible explanation, (your phone sending out a signal to the complementary in-store Wi-Fi ).

Public wifi is unencrypted. I'm not sure whether or not it is legal for the store or anyone else to monitor the broadcast, but it is certainly possible (as it is not encrypted).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Packet_sniffer#Capabilities
« Last Edit: 14/10/2012 13:56:43 by RD »
 

The Naked Scientists Forum

Re: While standing in a Giant Tiger
« Reply #3 on: 14/10/2012 13:52:53 »

 

SMF 2.0.10 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines
SMFAds for Free Forums