The Rise of QR Codes has Privacy Experts Worried

The popularly of QR codes has risen due to the pandemic, since it enables touchless interactions. But they can be used for tracking and advertising.

But the spread of the codes has also let businesses integrate more tools for tracking, targeting and analytics, raising red flags for privacy experts. That’s because QR codes can store digital information such as when, where and how often a scan occurs. They can also open an app or a website that then tracks people’s personal information or requires them to input it.

A Glimpse Into the World of Mobile Advertising IDs and Their Use

Motherboard gives us a brief look into mobile advertising IDs (MAIDS) and how they can be used to unmask your identity.

All BIGDBM USA data assets are connected to each other,” Mack added, explaining that MAIDs are linked to full name, physical address, and their phone, email address, and IP address if available. The dataset also includes other information.

AdGuard’s Shortcut Can Help Block YouTube Ads

AdGuard, creator of a popular adblocker of the same name, started getting complaints from users that YouTube ads were slipping through. It turns out Google deployed a new algorithm for showing ads to logged in users (Read more here). AdGuard was able to create a shortcut that can block these new ads while they build similar functionality to block them with the AdGuard app. You don’t need to have the AdGuard app installed to run the shortcut. Download Shortcut

Malvertising Campaign ‘Tag Barnakle’ Infected 120 Ad Servers

First discovered a year ago, malvertising campaign Tag Barnakle has infected over 120 ad servers to insert malicious code into ads.

Stein says that while last year Tag Barnakle had targeted users of desktop browsers with redirects to malware download sites, over the past year, the gang has switched to going after mobile users and redirecting them to online scams peddling various scammy products.

Behind ‘UID2’, a Way for Advertisers to Track Your Email

The EFF wrote a detailed post about UID2, a proposed way to make it easier for advertisers to identify people via their email.

UID2s will be connected to people, not devices. That means an advertiser who collects UID2 from a website can link it to the UID2s it collects through apps, connected TVs, and connected vehicles belonging to the same person. That’s where the “unified” part of UID2 comes in: it’s supposed to make cross-device tracking as easy as cross-site tracking used to be.

But this will also create new incentives for sites, apps, and connected devices to ask users for their email addresses.

All the more reason to use Sign In with Apple wherever possible or disposable email services.

Starting April 15, TikTok Won’t Let You Opt Out of Personalized Ads

Starting April 15, TikTok will make personalized ads mandatory whether you want them or not.

TikTok says it is “committed” to respecting the privacy of its users, according to a TikTok spokesperson. “We will continue to be transparent about our data privacy practices and help users understand their privacy choices on our Safety Center.”

People will still be able to control whether TikTok personalizes ads based on data pulled from other apps and websites.

Committed to respecting the privacy of its users. Eye roll.

Justin Long is Now ‘PC Guy’ in New Intel Ads Mocking Macs

Apple fans are familiar with the ad campaign in the mid-2000s. Justin Long was Mac Guy and John Hodgman was PC Guy, and they compared the different platforms. In a series of new ads from Intel, Justin Long is now PC Guy, mocking Apple’s Macs as Intel is surely still reeling from the announcement of the M1 chip. There are five ads in total of the “Justin Gets Real” campaign: 2-in-1 Flexibility, PC Gaming, Having Choices, Touch Screens, and 3 Monitors.

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