THE INTERCEPT - Nov 27 - Researchers at Yale Privacy Lab and French nonprofit Exodus Privacy have found that weather, flashlight, rideshare, and dating apps, among others, are infested with dozens of different types of trackers collecting information to better target advertising. Among the Android apps identified by the researchers were Tinder and OkCupid. Tinder uses five trackers in addition to its own which means the company has been able to make use of behavior analytics, and also to accept payment from shaving supply company Gillette for highly targeted research. One of the most ubiquitous in-app trackers is made by Google's DoubleClick ad platform, which targets users by location and across devices and channels, segments users based on online behavior, connects to personally identifiable information, and offers data sharing and integration with various advertising systems. DoubleClick's tracker is found in Tinder and OkCupid. The most invasive tracker is Fidzup, a France-based mobile performance marketing platform for brick and mortar retailers. Not all trackers are equally invasive, though many grab more information than they arguably should. For example, Google-owned Crashlytics is presumably just a crash reporter, but it does much more than simply performing analytics on app logs. The app, used by Tinder and OkCupid, can also link users across multiple cookies and devices. AppsFlyer (used by Tinder) does fraud prevention and protects from malware, but also fingerprints devices by their IDs, tracks users across datasets to circumvent the fragmentation caused by users with different devices, and tracks which users install which apps. Braze, used by OkCupid, can track users by location, target them across devices and channels, and serve targeted advertising based on consumer actions.
by Yael Grauer
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