York (UK) to track visitors via WiFi APs

Todays BBC Click program focused on Purple WiFi’s partnership with Pinacl Solutions, to track its visitors mobile devices MAC addresses without users consent or knowledge. Unlike most WiFi hotspot systems Purple WiFi’s system doesn’t even require the device to be connected to the hotspots in order to collect tracking data.

No personally identifiable data is collected unless you choose to actually connect and use the free wireless provided by the new network, once your connected profile details are collected from your social media accounts.

Purple WiFi are building a 150 strong Ruckus ZoneFlex™ access point network at key points around the city of York. The AP’s will collect devices MAC addresses, and more should people connect and use the WiFi networks. Information such as your gender, age and home location is thought to be among the list of information that will be collected. This information will be made available to the local retailers who subscribe to the system.

Click here to watch the BBC Click episode
Click here to watch the BBC Click episode

It’s an interesting move, and no doubt will divide the masses. How do you feel about town planners knowing how long you spend at each part of the town, and which streets do you traverse whilst out doing your shopping? Of course, there is one way to avoid any data collection whilst your out and about, and that is to switch off your mobile devices wireless and bluetooth adapters.

York will be joining the other 21 SuperConnected cities in the programme: Aberdeen, Belfast, Birmingham, Bradford, Brighton and Hove, Bristol, Cambridge, Cardiff, Coventry, Derby, Derry/Londonderry, Edinburgh, Leeds, London, Manchester, Newcastle, Newport, Oxford, Perth, Portsmouth, Salford.

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