Your apple phone can track you to your bathroom now...

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Your apple phone can track you to your bathroom now...

Postby Hammer_Time » Tue Mar 26, 2013 2:45 am

Apple can now track you indoors

By Mark SpoonauerPublished March 25, 2013Laptopmag.com

Still recovering from the backlash to its flawed Maps app, Apple is looking to beef up the iPhone’s indoor location capabilities by acquiring WiFiSlam. According to The Wall Street Journal, which first reported the deal, Apple paid $20 million to scoop up the two-year-old startup based in Silicon Valley.

As per usual for Apple, which made a splash when it bought Siri back in 2010, the company didn’t provide any details as to why the company made this acquisition. A spokesperson told the Journal only that Apple “buys smaller technology companies from time to time.” But there are plenty of reasons why this small investment could prove to be a big deal in the stage of the location-based services war.


Using Wi-Fi signals, WiFiSlam determines a user’s location within buildings, which has implications for shopping, advertising and social networking. According to WiFiSlam, its technology can pinpoint a smartphone with 2.5 ( meters ) accuracy.

“We are building the next generation of location-based mobile apps that, for the first time, engage with users at the scale that personal interaction actually takes place,” a description reads on AngelList’s investment page for WiFiSlam. “Applications range from step-by-step indoor navigation, to product-level retail customer engagement, to proximity-based social networking.”


Perhaps WiFiSlam’s technology could help Apple not only makes its iAd platform more robust by delivering location-based offers but enhance the accuracy of its Passbook service. We’ve received lock screen notifications for Walgreens while we were a quarter of a mile away.

Apple gets some Google juice out of the deal, too. WiFiSlam’s co-founder, Joseph Huang, is a former Google software engineering intern. And one of the company’s angel investors was a Google employee.


Now strangers sitting next to each other in their respective bathroom stalls can text each while doing their "business". Imagine the Gaydar apps this will encourage, you can hook up online and then let your iphones "find" each other using this location technology for a "face to face" meeting... :P
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Re: Your apple phone can track you to your bathroom now...

Postby Celt » Tue Mar 26, 2013 3:48 am

It's the same tech Google have been using for a while to increase location accuracy . . . so basically your Android phone already does this . . . what phone do you use Hammer?
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Re: Your apple phone can track you to your bathroom now...

Postby Hammer_Time » Tue Mar 26, 2013 4:01 am

I don't need or want a cellphone...same as Fuzz... guess we are "luddites" :wink: :mrgreen:

I believe what you are talking about ( localization of Android phones ) refers to systems that use their own special wifi nodes that have to be installed in a building in order for accurate ( less than 3 meters ) phone tracking, such as this product which works with any brand smartphone:

http://www.navizon.com/product-navizon- ... ion-system

But those nodes are a pain to setup and cost money of course, WifiSLAM is different, it uses a combination of existing WiFi ( no special nodes required ), GPS, accelerometers to measure how many steps you take, gyrometers to know when you have turned a corner etc...then combines all this data and analyzes it to produce a "map" of the building and pinpoint your phone's location within it, to less than 2.5m accuracy, without any special "WiFi nodes" installed:

WiFiSLAM’s Jason Huang, a former Google Intern, lays out the strengths and weaknesses of GPS and how it can be augmented with other systems.

The typical accuracy of GPS when it’s performing well is around 10 meters, points out Huang. This means almost nothing when it comes to traveling down a road in a car, but 10 meters vertically in a building could mean a difference of 6 floors.

“Getting the floor wrong by six or seven floors is a huge nuisance if you’re trying to do interesting things with location,” says Huang.

WiFiSLAM uses a combination of various methods to get better indoor locations. Obviously, WiFi and cell tower trilateration doesn’t work indoors. Instead, WiFi signals can be measured by any device to get an approximate location. In order for that location to be accurate, though, you have to use WiFi fingerprinting to get an idea of what the materials and construction of a particular building are going to do to WiFi signals. Enough scans in one place and you’ll have an accurate profile of a building that can be used to make a map.

The goal of WiFiSLAM and its SDK is ”to try to make indoor location as accessible as possible to anyone who wants to try it,” says Huang.

In around 90 seconds, you should be able to take a picture of a map, walk to one point of each location you want to log and upload it to a server. This process uses any hotspot that responds to probe requests. Those include hidden and password protected hotspots, as you’re only using the strength of the signal.

The SLAM acronym? That stands for Simultaneous Localization and Mapping. This encompasses WiFiSLAM’s way of gathering location and mapping information without recording any data at all and pairing with more traditional methods. To do this they record ‘trajectories’ from sensors on the phone including the accelerometers, gyroscopes and magnetometers.

The green is raw trajectories, using just inertial sensors. These are the ones inside your phone including your accelerometers. The Blue is SLAM. If you record enough of these trajectories (note that it doesn’t have to be just one person, which is important) and mate them with WiFi data, you can start to build more accurate indoor maps.

To aggregate the data, you track the paths walked by various users  (anonymously) and build a big database of paths and maps for the inside of buildings.

“The common wisdom,” says Huang, “is that smartphone sensors are cheap and that you can’t get any meaningful data from them.”



That is why WiFiSLAM is different, and Apple acquired them...you don't need to install expensive nodes for it to work, and it is a lot more accurate than GPS alone ( 2.5 m accuracy vs 10 m accuracy of GPS ) ...interesting...
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Re: Your apple phone can track you to your bathroom now...

Postby Celt » Tue Mar 26, 2013 4:03 am

Yup . . . very much old news . . . simpe answer . . .turn off data and GPS services unless you need them . . . you can't beat an off switch!
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Re: Your apple phone can track you to your bathroom now...

Postby Hammer_Time » Tue Mar 26, 2013 4:17 am

True, just showing how much companies ( ad/marketing companies, police, agencies etc. ) want to track the precise location of your phone at all times... of course you can turn this off, but it is something to be aware of...
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Re: Your apple phone can track you to your bathroom now...

Postby Fuzz » Tue Mar 26, 2013 4:32 am

Well, I don't have a phone, or go to malls, so I guess I'm safe!

By entering a mall or a store, you are basically agreeing to their terms of service, whether it be by video camera surveillance, mall cops, or now this.
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Re: Your apple phone can track you to your bathroom now...

Postby Hammer_Time » Tue Mar 26, 2013 7:08 am

Yes, and I personally can't stand the mall's "terms of service"... I mean, I want to walk around in my fluorescent orange thong while shopping, and they won't let me!! Bah, I shop for clothes at Value Village where things are priced fairly...who needs the malls, I mean "really" ?? They just give me a headache and I try to avoid them at all costs...contrary to the mind-numbing programming in the media that we are all "consumers" and "have to shop" all the damn time... gotta keep that hyper-capitalism going dontcha know...Give me a farmers market anyday... and kijiji... I buy all my computer stuff online from Newegg or from CC locally ( kijiji for used parts of course when warranted ), again avoiding the malls...come to think of it there is nothing I buy anymore that "requires" me to shop in a mall anymore...good... I do poke my nose in one every year or two though, just to see what newfangled mind-numbing headache-inducing crap they have come up with recently... :twisted: "Bigger is not Better" when it comes to malls, unless you like the Edmonton Mall and walking 2 km to get to your desired store, and battling hordes of surly tweens and rabid Beliebers, angry teenagers with more metal piercings in their face than a bomb defuser who sucks at his job, not to mention the tortoise-speed blue-hair scowling seniors that make turns without warning, and ankle-biters that scream bloody murder if tired or frustrated for hours on end - no thanks !! :incoming:

/ end rant :twisted:

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Okay, getting off topic here now, must be strong...stay...on... topic...urgh...derp... :mrgreen:
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Re: Your apple phone can track you to your bathroom now...

Postby Fuzz » Tue Mar 26, 2013 9:57 am

West Edmonton Mall is a festering hive of depression. Starbucks everywhere, its old and gloomy, the water park looks like a giant moldy science experiment . . .Would not recommend.
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Re: Your apple phone can track you to your bathroom now...

Postby Sauron_Daz » Tue Mar 26, 2013 10:30 am

Fuzz wrote:West Edmonton Mall is a festering hive of depression. Starbucks everywhere, its old and gloomy, the water park looks like a giant moldy science experiment . . .Would not recommend.


Great place for a fun holiday!!!
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Re: Your apple phone can track you to your bathroom now...

Postby Sauron_Daz » Tue Mar 26, 2013 10:31 am

Hammer_Time wrote:
Okay, getting off topic here now, must be strong...stay...on... topic...urgh...derp... :mrgreen:


Yes, and before Apple finds out!
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Re: Your apple phone can track you to your bathroom now...

Postby Sauron_Daz » Tue Mar 26, 2013 10:32 am

Celt wrote:It's the same tech Google have been using for a while to increase location accuracy . . . so basically your Android phone already does this . . . what phone do you use Hammer?


Question is: WHY???
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Re: Your apple phone can track you to your bathroom now...

Postby Zipcord » Fri Feb 14, 2014 7:41 am

Probably to increase productivity and to design better buildings and to find new ways to incorporate advertisements into our daily lives and to provide information for authorities and government agencies. I don't mind programming like that and all the data that can be used.
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Re: Your apple phone can track you to your bathroom now...

Postby Hammer_Time » Sat Feb 15, 2014 1:09 am

Targeted advertising is all fine and well, but it comes with a price to pay:

http://news.cnet.com/8301-13578_3-57617 ... om-reason/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/peter-van ... 03714.html

I for one do not want my "location tracked and recorded" everywhere I go, whether it is a shopping mall or just a walk down the street. The gov't already "knows" way too much about all of us, and the more they "connect the dots" ( using metadata or "data about data" ), the more unexpected and negative repercussions can and will happen to an unsuspecting public.

If you don't believe me then please read the novel "1984" by George Orwell. Soon they will be arresting people just for "thinking" about crimes, before they have actually committed them. In the case of Gitmo, that is already happening. I am not saying there should be no security but "Big Brother" is not good for anyone ( except those at the very top of course controlling everything ).
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Re: Your apple phone can track you to your bathroom now...

Postby Sauron_Daz » Sun Feb 16, 2014 6:42 am

Hammer_Time wrote:Targeted advertising is all fine and well, but it comes with a price to pay:

http://news.cnet.com/8301-13578_3-57617 ... om-reason/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/peter-van ... 03714.html

I for one do not want my "location tracked and recorded" everywhere I go, whether it is a shopping mall or just a walk down the street. The gov't already "knows" way too much about all of us, and the more they "connect the dots" ( using metadata or "data about data" ), the more unexpected and negative repercussions can and will happen to an unsuspecting public.

Agreed
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Re: Your apple phone can track you to your bathroom now...

Postby DIREWOLF75 » Sun Feb 16, 2014 7:39 am

One of the reasons i keep my phone OFF most of the time.
Even though it´s just an old "regular" mobile.
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Re: Your apple phone can track you to your bathroom now...

Postby clone » Sun Feb 16, 2014 11:14 am

Now strangers sitting next to each other in their respective bathroom stalls can text each while doing their "business".
they always could but now Apple knows where they are.
West Edmonton Mall is a festering hive of depression. Starbucks everywhere, its old and gloomy, the water park looks like a giant moldy science experiment . . .Would not recommend.
really? or is this the view from a seasoned native who's grown all too familiar with it vs a tourist who knows nothing and would be impressed?

on a side note so Fuzz, Hammer and I have consciously decided not to have Cell Phones? I'm surprised I'm not alone or in the minority regarding the choice. more to the point am I the only one who is growing more annoyed by the privacy intrusions both government and corporations are feeling entitled to commit?
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Re: Your apple phone can track you to your bathroom now...

Postby Hammer_Time » Sun Feb 16, 2014 2:02 pm

TBH, the main reason I don't own a cellphone is that I am not mobile ( other than walks or bike rides for exercise ) anymore, no car, so no need for a cellphone at all. Just use Voip home phone here. So lack of mobility plus the cost of cellphone and its service just turns me off, the privacy/tracking issues you mention also are a negative in my books but would probably not deter me from owning a cellphone ( yet ) if I was more mobile and/or richer... that is just my own unique situation of course. Do I like what Apple and other companies are doing with cellphone GPS/tracking data? Or knowing that the NSA and CSEC here in Canada are spying on everything wired and wireless these days?? No, of course not... but it would not quite "stop" me from owning a smartphone if I felt I needed one in my life ( being more mobile etc. ).
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Re: Your apple phone can track you to your bathroom now...

Postby Sauron_Daz » Thu Feb 20, 2014 3:53 am

They can track a regular (not smart) phone as well.. I hear even when its turned off.
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Re: Your apple phone can track you to your bathroom now...

Postby DIREWOLF75 » Thu Feb 20, 2014 5:41 am

Sauron_Daz wrote:They can track a regular (not smart) phone as well.. I hear even when its turned off.


Not when off. That´s only under certain circumstances. Like after a malware-infected update.

Also, simple test, does your mobile phone reduce the battery level even while turned off? This requires weeks for a good test but still...
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Re: Your apple phone can track you to your bathroom now...

Postby Sauron_Daz » Tue Feb 25, 2014 3:05 am

I don't have weeks to test that..
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