Vodafone Pilots New ID System For Targeted Ads

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Vodafone is working on a new advertising ID system that will function as a persistent user tracker at the mobile ISP level.

The advertising ID system called TrustPid works by assigning each customer a fixed ID while linking all user activities to it. Based on this ID, the mobile ISP creates a personal profile and helps advertisers place targeted ads to each customer without revealing any identification details.

Vodafone said the problem for its Internet subscribers is that the “free” parts of the Internet are under threat from stricter cookie blocking and privacy-enhancing programs.

Regulators around the world voiced concerns about the use of user data and tracking, leading Apple to block standard tracking everywhere, destabilizing the targeted advertising industry and forcing the industry to look for alternative tracking ways.

TrustPid is being tested in Germany and will be based on a number of parameters that will help the system maintain its persistence.

Vodafone’s ID system has drawn criticism from experts and lawmakers.

“The online activities of an individual allow for deep insights into their (past and future) behavior and make it possible to manipulate them. These personality profiles, which even cover political opinion, sexual orientation or medical conditions, are a risk to privacy, but also to national security, where officials can be blackmailed, and also to democracy, where elections and referendums can be manipulated. A unique ID would allow for monitoring our entire digital lives. These schemes are totally unacceptable, and the trials should be stopped. Democracy is not for sale,” said Patrick Breyer, member of the European Parliament and digital rights activist.

The sources for this piece include an article in BleepingComputer.

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