Beginning this July, TfL (Transport for London) will begin tracking users’ handsets by default on the London Underground. Wi-Fi access points all over 260 stations in its capital will track users with the help of their handsets’ MAC addresses, which will permit TfL to see the paths they take via the network as well as via separate stations as they shift from one platform to another.
Since the system depends on MAC addresses that handsets automatically send to access points of Wi-Fi when they attempt to link, the only method to opt out of this system is to turn off Wi-Fi for your handsets completely. On the other hand, as media states, TfL will anonymize the info it gathers. MAC addresses will be tokenized, indicating that they will be restored with an identifier that cannot be tracked back to a handset or the client who controls it. The transport authority claims that it will not gather any historical or browsing info from handsets.
The aim of the tracking is to better know how individuals employ the Tube network and to offer enhanced real-time data about crowding levels in stations. TfL can already employ tickets to know which stations people are traveling in between, but beginning later in 2019, London Underground employees will have authorization to crowd info to offer people better suggest on how to take their journeys. TfL also aims to launch crowding notifications via its social media channels and website. Maybe more essentially, crowd info will also be offered through the existing APIs of the authority, theoretically permitting mapping firms such as Citymapper and Google Maps to customize their public transport suggestions to avoid regions of high congestion.
TfL claims the plan will also be employed to advantage its advertising sector by “highlighting the accountability and effectiveness of its advertising estate on the basis of actual client volumes.”
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