Privacy, GeoMetri, & iOS 8

Recently, Apple made an announcement regarding the new privacy features to be released as part of the iOS 8 Operating System upgrade. Specifically, the way in which Apple devices transmit their unique Media Access Control (MAC) address, will change.

What are the changes and what do they mean?

Traditionally, every Wi-Fi enabled device is assigned a unique and unchanging 16-character MAC address by the manufacturer. This MAC address may be used as an identifier. Wi-Fi enabled devices, such as phones and tablets, emit “pings” every few seconds in attempt to communicate, or search for, wireless networks using this special MAC address.

In order to reduce privacy concerns, the iOS 8 upgrade will allow Apple products to retain two types of MAC addresses. The first will randomize itself while searching for a connection with each ping, while the other will remain constant once the device is connected to a specified network.

Should I be concerned about my privacy?

Not with GeoMetri products. Our team has worked to make sure privacy measures are built into the GeoMetri platform. It’s important to remember that MAC addresses provide no personal information about the individual. However, for added security and privacy, once a MAC address is present, the address is scrambled before being saved by the GeoMetri servers.

How do these changes affect Location Technology?

Firstly, these changes only impact Apple devices with an iOS 8 Operating System, or those who have upgraded to iOS 8. These changes do not affect Android or Windows phones.

Secondly, The GeoMetri platform uses spatial analysis to generate the kind of valuable, trend information that drives smart decision making and does not depend solely on MAC addresses to drive metrics. The GeoMetri system can still provide near real-time pedestrian traffic, trends and metrics without the presence of a MAC address. In contrast, location information vendors who do not use spatial analysis, who only derive information from MAC addresses, may have inaccuracy problems after the iOS 8 release.

How do these changes affect GeoMetri?

As technology changes, so do we. We applaud those who take privacy as seriously as we do. Our team is committed to providing the best information available using leading spatial and scientific processes. As technology moves forward, we’ll be prepared to change our approach in gathering the specific metrics required to make the most valuable of business decisions.

Image Credit: Apple