It seems that the NSA, the feds and law enforcement aren’t the only ones monitoring cell phone data and mobile devices.
The Ad companies are in on it, too – and are now using drones to spy, err.. track, err… keep pace with consumers.
Here’s what Venture Beat is reporting about the new drone fleet operating in the L.A. area:
Since early February, several small drones flying around the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles have been determining mobile devices’ locations from Wi-Fi and cellular transmission signals.
They are part of an experiment by Singapore-based location marketing firm Adnear, which has offices around the world.
For now, this company (and likely other competitors) are “testing location mapping” to quantify which areas are most heavily trafficked, and thus hold the best potential for profit.
In the long term, the intent is to use this data to deliver real-time targeted ads at consumers to draw them into nearby business – perhaps ones they walk past but never shop in – or to special products and sales. It might go something like this:
“Let’s say someone is walking near a coffee shop,” Kataria said by way of example.
The coffee shop may want to offer in-app ads or discount coupons to people who often walk by but don’t enter, as well as to frequent patrons when they are elsewhere. Adnear’s client would be the coffee shop or other retailers who want to entice passersby.
The entire affair is very much like Minority Report, where personalized ads are delivered straight to the consumer with the help of all your personal data, demographic profile and shopping habits. The result is customized pitches based on your location and interests.
For some, that is progress. For most others, it’s an invasion of privacy on nightmarish levels.