Taking to cover all electronic communications providers (Skype,

Taking into account that electronic communications include the Internet,telephone, instant messaging and with all the issues regarding spam, directmarketing, telecommunication firms, mobile app developers, online advertisingnetworks, it is highly pertinent to examine theinfluence of such communications. This essay will outline one of themain concerns of the Article 29 Data Protection Working Party1 relating to WirelessFidelity(WiFi) tracking and seek to evaluate Regulation on Privacy andElectronic Communications 2and online advertising reforms in the light of such issues.

The Working Party3, in general, endorses theCommission’s proposal4. It should be noted as agood fact that the Commission applies the rules to cover all electroniccommunications providers (Skype, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Voice over IP,Gmail), not merely traditional providers. Nevertheless, the Working Party5 is “highly concerned6” and one of concerns is tracking terminal equipment. The mostsignificant issue is related to concerning the respect for private life and theprotection of personal data as the proposed exception in Article 8(2b) of theRegulation7 is pointed that organisationscan collect information from terminal equipment to track the physical movementsof individuals without the consent of the individual concerned, that alsoreferred to as “device tracking”. This technology is already in use, forinstance, to map traffic flows on roads. Under such proposal, it appears thatit is sufficient for the party collecting the data to comply by simply tellingusers to switch off their devices when they do not want to be tracked. In theWorking Party’s view, such an approach would be “contrary to a basic goal of the telecommunications policy of the EuropeanCommission to provide high-speed mobile internet connectivity with strongprivacy protections at a low cost to all Europeans, across borders8”.

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Moreover, the opinionexpressed by the Working Party9 states that the Regulation10 does not impose any clearlimitations with regard to the application of the data collection or subsequentprocessing. Thus, the level of protection of personal data is “significantly lower than under the GDPR11”, under which suchtracking would need to be fair and lawful, as well as transparent. It is fairto specify that that merely providing an individual opt-out in respect of eachorganisation that collects such data would constitute “an unacceptable burden on citizens12”, considering theincrease in the deployment of such tracking technologies by both private andpublic sector organisations. In some cases, for instance in the proximity of amedical clinic, police or religious institution, location information isgreatly sensitive in itself, even in its raw form without analytics. It isworrisome that Regulation13 provides a nearly totalpermission for any purpose for this type of tracking, upon condition that theuser alerts about the measures which they can take to “stop or minimise collection14”. Indeed, it is highlydifficult to understand this type of use of location data deserves weakerprotection than others. Arguably, the exceptions regarding tracking of locationof terminal equipment are too broad and lack adequate safeguards.

In oneresearch “Tracking humanmobility using WiFi signals15” academics studied duringsix months of human mobility data using WiFi and Global Positioning System(GPS)and found that time series of WiFi scans contain a strong latent locationsignal. They were using just one GPS observation per day per person and thatallowed them to estimate the location of, and subsequently use, WiFi accesspoints to account for 80% of mobility across a population. Such results haveimportant and dangerous implications for privacy and security as “…it can be used to discover night-watchschedules, find times when the occupants are not home, or efficiently checkwork time of the employees.16” And similar studies aresufficient17.Another curious example about tracking “anonymously” is illustrated via aFreedom of Information(FOI) request asking London’s transport regulator torelease the “anonymized” data-set it generated from a four week trial when ittracked metro users in London via WiFi and their smartphones as they traveledaround its network18.

Consequently, the emailcontained all the tracking information that could be used to identify people. Yves-Alexandrede Montjoye, a lecturer in computational privacy at Imperial College’s DataScience Institute, states that “…in adataset where the location of an individual is specified hourly, and with aspatial resolution equal to that given by the carrier’s antennas, fourspatio-temporal points are enough to uniquely identify 95% of the individuals…19”. The location tracking ofthe terminal equipment is a powerful tool and used widely in different fieldsof life.

Some companies prefer to track their employees through a tracking appon their private or business devices20.  According to an Aberdeen Group study21 in 2014, 54 percent ofcompanies with field operations are already tracking their employees that areout of the office, in real time, up from 37 percent in 2012. In healthcare, thenewest technology is a Real-Time Location System (RTLS) to allow used toprovide immediate or real-time tracking and management of medical equipment,staff and patients within all types of patient care environments22. In 2012, the U.S.Supreme Court handed down U.

S. v Jones23,a significant privacy decision that addressed location tracking by thegovernment. In 2013, in U.

S. v Katzin24 the Court resoundinglyheld it had “…no hesitation in holdingthat the police must obtain a warrant prior to attaching a GPS device on avehicle, thereby undertaking a search that the Supreme Court has compared to ‘aconstable’s concealing himself in the target’s coach to track its movements…25”.In Russia, if the user wants to log onto public WiFi according to thecorresponding government decree26 the user must now provideinformation that completely obliterates any online privacy27. With respect to Virtual Private Network(VPN), Vladimir Putin signed anew law28 that Russia likely plansto block the domains of VPNs and proxies that don’t comply with Russian authoritiesto enforce their internet censorship filter29.

In UK, there were half amillion requests by public authorities for communications data of which almost144,000 were demands for “traffic” data, which includes location30. Mobile phone companiescan provide police with real-time location information about the whereabouts ofsuspects or missing people at 15-minute intervals. Apple’s devices save everydetail of its owners’ movements on the device, meaning that anyone who stolethe device could discover details about the owner’s movements31.

There are a lot ofdifferent examples of location tracking which contradict with the respect forprivate life and the protection of personal data32. The only way not to betracked is to turn devices off entirely as merely to turn WiFi or Bluetooth offcan be not enough with growing technologies.Herein, another important issue isthe relation between tracking and advertising. Nowadays, people use manydifferent online services which contains online advertising.

Most businessesare interested to know where people are responding to their advertisements,whether at home or on the move. And to analyse that information business uses locationidentification through triangulating their position between two Wi-Fi towers orthe phone’s GPS coordinates. Fascinatingly, businesses can expect highersuccess when users passively engage with geolocation. Tagging a picture onInstagram or Facebook tends to provide a more real-time location.

Such passivebehavior tends to be more voluntary, where users feel more comfortable sharingcertain bits of information. According to the survey “500 Marketing DecisionMakers” in 2017 “…25% of marketingbudgets are spent on location-based marketing and over 50% of brands are usinglocation data to target customers…33”. In a Microsoft study”The consumer data value exchange”34, 89.3% respondents wouldshare data for location-based discounts.

There are many different innovativebrands who use geo-targeting and other location-based tactics. In 2015Coca-Cola launched a location-based marketing project, where they did not usetheir own app, they made it through a popular, third-party app, “…24% of the people that had the app ontheir phone clicked on the offer, while 50% collected their free Coke at thecinema and 60% of those went on to click on retargeting ads served up some timelater and offered a free cinema ticket courtesy of the soft drinks giant…35”.In Brazil, Nivea used a Bluetooth proximity beacon36 embedded in magazine advertising,which parents could tear out from the page in the form of a wrist-band fortheir children to track how far the children walk away from their parents, byreceiving  an alert when the child walksout of a pre-defined range. In Russia, mobile app “Parking Douche”37 provides users to takepictures of poorly-parked cars, such as in the middle of the footpath or garageentrance. In Germany, pet food company “Granata Pet” developed a kiosk calledSnack Ball Machine which was installed in parks in a number of cities.

Eachball has a beacon sensor in it and dogs which bring the ball back fast enough(based on tracking the distance traveled) are deemed healthy and a bowl of dogfood is dispensed from the kiosk. In China, McDonald’s partnered with AngryBirds to create a location-based promotional game to entertain and rewardrestaurant visitors38. In regard to foregoing, location-basedmarketing is still a growing concept in the marketing world. However, alongsidethe opportunities for business and convenience for customers, the key point isa careful balance to ensure branding is present and the creative delivers acompelling message that recognises the consumers’ choice to act. The significant issue is couldsomeone use online advertising to learn where individual goes for lunch orsends advertising to his phone to find out when individual leaves the house?The answer of this issue provides in the New University of Washington research,where for roughly $1,000, someone with devious intent can purchase and targetonline advertising in ways that allow them to track the location of otherindividuals and learn what apps they are using39. Theresearch team set out to test whether an adversary could exploit the existingonline advertising infrastructure for personal surveillance.

The researchersdiscovered that an individual advertising purchaser can, under certaincircumstances, see when a person visits a predetermined sensitive locationwithin 10 minutes of that person’s arrival. They were also able to track aperson’s movements across the city during a morning commute by servinglocation-based advertising to the target’s phone. As co-author and professorTadayoshi Kohno expressed that “…we didthis research to better understand the privacy risks with online advertising.There’s a fundamental tension that as advertisers become more capable oftargeting and tracking people to deliver better ads, there’s also theopportunity for adversaries to begin exploiting that additional precision.

Itis important to understand both the benefits and risks with technologies…40″.That could potentially divulge information about the person’s interests, datinghabits, religious affiliations, health conditions, political leanings and otherprivate information. In the book “Confronting the End of Privacy41”, Andreas Weigendcontends that in a digital environment “…anonymityis an illusion…42”.However, being aware of the tactics used in digital marketing may help usresist alluring messages and think twice before succumbing to this new age ofstrategic personalization.In the light of academic opinions, core law and different publications, thetracking of the location of terminal equipment needs to be fair and lawful, aswell as transparent, the exceptions regarding WiFi tracking are too broad andlack adequate safeguards. Some researchers of WiFi tracking demonstrate seriousimplications for private life and the protection of personal data.

There shouldbe stricter rules for Wi-Fi location tracking and similar device tracking. Atthe same time, online advertising or marketing is directly connected withlocation tracking and has become ubiquitous nowadays. Online location-basedadvertising has got unconditional advantages for business development indifferent fields and also provides some convenience for people yet there areserious disadvantages as private information, such as the time of leaving home,could be disclosed, and intruders can use such information for their owninterests. The legislative regulation of such issues is still an opendiscussion as in practice there is no ideal mechanism to prevent leacking ofpersonal information. If people do not want to be tracked then they need toturn their devices off, especially in public places.

1 The Article 29 DataProtection Working Party “Opinion 01/2017 onthe Proposed Regulationfor the ePrivacy Regulation (2002/58/EC)” 17/EN WP 247 4 April 2017 (The article29 Working Party).2 European Commission’sProposal for a Regulation on Privacy and Electronic Communications of 10January 2017, COM (2017)10 (Regulation on Privacy and Electronic Communications).3 The Article 29 WorkingParty (n 1).4 Regulation on Privacyand Electronic Communications (n 2).5 The Article 29 WorkingParty (n 1).6Ibidpage 10.7 Regulation on Privacyand Electronic Communications (n 2).8 The Article 29 WorkingParty page 11 (n 1).

9 Ibid.10 Regulation on Privacyand Electronic Communications (n 2).11The Article 29 WorkingParty page 11 (n 1).12 Ibid page 11.13 Regulation on Privacyand Electronic (n 2).14 Ibid page 27.15 Sapiezynski P.

, Stopczynski A., Gatej R., Lehmann S.

, “Tracking HumanMobility Using WiFi Signals” PLSO 10(7) (2015).16 Ibid page 7.17 Rekimoto J., Miyaki T., Ishizawa T., “LifeTag: WiFi-based continuouslocation logging for life pattern analysis” (2007) page 50; Yves-Alexandre deMontjoye, César A. Hidalgo, Michel Verleysen & Vincent Blondel, “Unique inthe Crowd: The privacy bounds of human mobility” (2013) SR3.

18 NatashaLomas, “How “anonymous” wifi data can still be a privacy risk” TechCrunch (7 October 2017) accessed28 December 2017.19 de Montjoye Y.

, Hidalgo C., Verleysen M., Blondel V.

, Unique in the Crowd: The privacy boundsof  human mobility (2013).20 Andrea Peterson, “Some companies aretracking workers with smartphone apps. What could possibly go wrong?” UW News (14 May 2015) accessed28 December 2017; Aigerim Berzinya,”Employee’s Perspective: Top 8 Issues of Concern If Your Company Wants to TrackYou” Turtler (30 November 2017)

turtler.io/news/employees-top-issues-of-concern-with-company-GPS-tracking>accessed 28December 2017; Stephen Schroeder, “Employee GPS Tracking: Challenges andBest Practices” Turtler (10 May 2017) accessed28 December 2017.21 Rebecca Greenfield, “YourBoss Is Now Tracking You at Home” Bloomberg(19 May 2015)

bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-05-18/your-boss-is-now-tracking-you-at-home>accessed 28 December 2017.22 Centrak, “Real-TimeLocation System for Hospitals: Improving Facilities for Patients and Staff”(Centrak, 2017) accessed28 December 2017; Traclogik “Locateassets and staff in real-time across wide hospital areas” (Traclogik, 2017)

co.uk/healthcare/> accessed 28 December 2017.23 (2012)132 S.Ct.

945.24 (2014) 769 F.3d 163.25 (2014) 769 F.

3d 163.26 Dmitriy Medvedev,”Russian Government Decree” (Publication.Pravo.Gov5 August 2014)

publication.pravo.gov.ru/Document/View/0001201408050024>accessed28 December 2017.27 The Global Voices”Want to Use Public Wi-Fi in Russia? Let’s See Some ID” The Global Voices (7 August 2014) accessed28 December 2017; BBC News “Russiaenacts ‘draconian’ law for bloggers and online media” BBC News (1 August 2014)

com/news/technology-28583669/>accessed28 December 2017.28 The State Duma, “Russian Federal law” (Publication.Pravo.Gov 30 July 2017)

publication.pravo.gov.ru/Document/View/0001201707300002>accessed28 December 2017. 29 Caleb Chen “The RussiaVPN ban doesn’t forbid personal or business use of VPNs” Private Internet Access (31 July 2017) accessed28 December 2017.30 Paul Lewis “Phonehacking: Met police to investigate mobile tracking” The Gardian (21 July 2011) accessed28 December 2017.31 Charles Arthur “iPhonekeeps record of everywhere you go” TheGuardian (20 April 2011) accessed28 December 2017.32 Alan Henry “How RetailStores Track You Using Your Smartphone (and How to Stop It)” Life Hacker (19 July 2013) accessed 28 December 2017; Cathy Nolan “Using theInternet of Things to Track Shoppers” Dataversity (17 February 2017) accessed 28 December 2017.33 LBMA, “Global Location Trends Report” The LBMA (13 March 2017) accessed 28 December 2017.34 Microsoft,”Research reveals understanding gap in the brand-consumer data exchange” (Microsoft APAC New Centre, 3 June 2015) accessed 28 December 2017.35 Joseph Seb,”Coca-Cola has taken a step closer to usingbeacons to turn location-based marketing on its head” The Drum (13 August2015)accessed 28 December 2017.36 São Paulo, “The Protection Ad byNivea” FCB Brasil () accessed 28 December 2017.37 CargoCollective,”Parking Douche” CargoCollective(2012) accessed 28 December 2017.38 Amanda Phillips, “Use location marketing toenhance brand relevance, but don’t become Big Brother” The Guardian(23 March 2015) accessed 28 December 2017.39 JenniferLangston “For $1000,anyone can purchase online ads to track your location and app use” UW News (October 2017) accessed 28 December 2017.40 Phone hacking (n 30).41 AndreasWeigend, Data for the People: How to MakeOur Post-Privacy Economy Work for You (2017) 272.42 Data for the People (n 41) page 150.

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