There’s a Multibillion-Dollar Market for Your Phone’s Location Data – The Markup

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Interesting deeper dive into how location data is collected, aggregated, and sold. I like the details here and the specific explanations of the use cases.

Data from location intelligence firm Thasos Group has been used to measure the number of workers pulling extra shifts at Tesla plants. Political campaigns on both sides of the aisle have also used location data from people who were at rallies for targeted advertising.

Fast food restaurants and other businesses have been known to buy location data for advertising purposes down to a person’s steps. For example, in 2018, Burger King ran a promotion in which, if a customer’s phone was within 600 feet of a McDonalds, the Burger King app would let the user buy a Whopper for one cent.

The Wall Street Journal and Motherboard have also written extensively about how federal agencies including the Internal Revenue Service, Customs and Border Protection, and the U.S. military bought location data from companies tracking phones.

Incredible how many use cases there are for this data.

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