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Helsinki Airport Installs World’s First Real-Time Passenger Tracking System

OWoN: Let's go a little further. Google is putting in WiFi in New York where the old public phone booths used to exist. Once you have a grid you can track any cell phone user with or without permission. Perhaps good for the store who wants to drag you in, and good for Google looking to sell data. However, consider this, once your cell phone is identified all your personal info can be obtained with a very distinct profile within seconds with the right server base.

Forget that private meeting with a new employer, or a new hire, or a causal drink with a competitor or female or male as the case maybe. It will all be known by those with the tools to see. And no doubt the data collected will go to other databases for processing and sale.

I suppose that if privacy is important then we will simply turn off the phone or leave it at home. Makes you understand now why the Germans are buying typewriters for privacy. And while all US mail is tracked at least they have not yet figured out how to read it. But they will.

All mobile phones logged into the Wi-Fi network at Helsinki Airport will be monitored by an in-house tracking system that identifies passengers’ real-time movements

Now the End Begins
30 July 2014

About 150 white boxes, each the size of a wireless internet router, have been placed at various points around the airport. Equipped with tracking technology from the Finland-based retail analytics company Walkbase, each device is designed to collect the “unique identifier numbers” of all mobile phones which have Wi-Fi access switched on. Users wanting access to the WiFi network will be notified of the monitoring system before they log in to the network.

Passengers can also “opt-in” for other services, by logging into the network via an application such as an airline app or retail store app, to receive sales offers from the airport’s 35 shops and 32 restaurants and cafes, in addition to any relevant flight information.

Currently at its initial phase, the full tracking system is expected to be in place by the end of this year which could enable shops to specifically target passengers that are within their vicinities, such as a deli that could alert a passenger walking by of a certain item on sale.

All data collected is said to be in aggregated form, preventing any personal information from being seen by Finavia Oyi, the Finnish Civil Aviation Administration operating the airport, as the software discards any unique identifiers of devices, claims Tuomas Wuoti, the CEO at Walkbase.

But software security analysts find it hard to believe “location tracking is only left at statistics” levels.

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