Feeds

Mobe networks test-drive punter-tracking kit to sling 'better' ads

They know what and where you browsed last summer

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

MWC 2013 Mobile network operators are already storing your browsing data for a year to better target advertising and optimise the network. But is that any worse than Google harvesting the same thing?

Not according to Guavus, one of the companies providing the monitoring technology, which last month acquired "mobile data intelligence" biz Neuralitic to help operators make money out of their customers' online activity. Guavus was in Barcelona at Mobile World Congress to remind everyone that punters trust their network operators more than they do Google, and if they're happy to be tracked by the search giant then why not by Sprint too?

Guavus' clients know a lot more than Google, of course, even before applying Neuralitic's techniques: the operator knows a customer's home address - still the single most-valuable bit of data for advertisers - along with everywhere they've been (stored for law-enforcement purposes) not to mention their name and age. These are all details Google has spent millions trying to acquire with Google+, but switch on Guavus' kit and the operator gets every web session, every site visited and every byte downloaded too, enough to make Google look ill-informed.

Squeezing value out of that data is what Neuralitic does, and while the biz can't mention many operators (Sprint being one of the few) it is in trials with all the US networks and expanding rapidly into Europe and Asia.

Guavus has been providing analysis of operator data for a while, focussing on how to improve network coverage and reduce network costs. Knowing what applications customers are using where, and how often, can feed into load balancing and simplify decisions about caching and peering deals, but with Neuralitic on board operators can start spinning that data into gold.

If an operator sees new customers, who'll have arrived from a competitor in most markets, make heavy use of YouTube or Facebook then it knows which service to emphasis in its next round of advertising - most of the analytics used today is based on that kind of crowd data, but with Neuralitic Guavus can also create very personal profiles.

Louis Brun, Neuralitic's founder, is unapologetic: "If I have to trust someone with my data then I want to trust the company I've had a 15-year relationship with", pointing out that mobile operators are well governed by national regulators while Google and its ilk slip, slide and ultimately face off against watchdogs, both national and international.

More concerning, to anyone tracking our browsing habits, is the increasing use of optimising proxies such as Opera's Turbo and Nokia's Xpress, with which the only connection visible to the operator is that to the proxy. Brun isn't bothered, claiming that enough data falls out from apps and un-proxied traffic, but users of such systems are making a decision to share their browsing history with the company running the proxy, instead of the network operator, though few will understand the importance of that distinction. ®

Remote control for virtualized desktops

More from The Register

next story
YOU are the threat: True confessions of real-life sysadmins
Who will save the systems from the men and women who save the systems from you?
Download alert: Nearly ALL top 100 Android, iOS paid apps hacked
Attack of the Clones? Yeah, but much, much scarier – report
Broadband sellers in the UK are UP TO no good, says Which?
Speedy network claims only apply to 10% of customers
Virgin Media struck dumb by NATIONWIDE packet loss balls-up
Turning it off and on again fixes glitch 12 HOURS LATER
Ofcom snatches 700MHz off digital telly, hands it to mobile data providers
Hungry mobe'n'slab-waving Blighty swallows spectrum
Fujitsu CTO: We'll be 3D-printing tech execs in 15 years
Fleshy techie disses network neutrality, helmet-less motorcyclists
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management
How using vulnerability assessments to identify exploitable weaknesses and take corrective action can reduce the risk of hackers finding your site and attacking it.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.