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Don't let stores and airports track your movements!

Don't let stores and airports track your movements!

You already know that advertisers are tracking where you go online, even on your smartphone or tablet. But did you know that retailers, airports and other commercial locations are literally tracking where you walk?

It's called Mobile Location Analytics, and it uses your gadget's Wi-Fi or Bluetooth to pinpoint your location. For example, an airport knows how much time you spent in a shop, moving through security or at the baggage claim. A store knows when you move from one department to another or even linger in a certain aisle. How does it do that?

Every computer and mobile gadget has a unique hardware identifier called a MAC address that it broadcasts via Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. As your gadget comes in range of the various Wi-Fi routers and Bluetooth hubs scattered around a store or airport, the company can tell where you are.

Companies collect this information over time and use it to track traffic flow, line wait times, popular products or aisles, tweak employee work schedules and more. But could they use the information to do something more?

Next page: Is your privacy at risk?
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