US-based ‘Anomaly Six’ has been found deploying hidden tracking software in more than 500 mobile application
Anomaly Six is a federal contractor that provides global-location-data products to branches of the U.S. government and private-sector clients. The Virginia-based company pays mobile developers to include its in-house tracking code within the apps developed by the company. Many private-sector companies in the advertising and marketing world buy and sell geolocation data, sometimes reselling it to government agencies or contractors.
According to a report revealed by the Wall Street Journal, the US-based company has strong ties with national security agencies that deploy a software development kit (SDK) in over 500 mobile applications that are used by hundreds and thousands of citizens.
It was also known that the company is now steadily looking pertaining to its operations. But they claim that they are simply leveraging commercially available location data, lawfully. To be clear, the data Anomaly Six collects is anonymized. Each smartphone is attached to an alphanumeric identifier that isn’t linked to the name of the phone’s owner. And as the company doesn’t disclose its government tracking software, there’s no way to opt-out.
“We leverage detailed location data from numerous first-party sources to provide insights into groups, behaviors, and patterns.” said the company
Wall Street Journal Yesterday: U.S intelligence and defense departments cooperated with a private company, Anomaly Six LLC, to place hidden spyware in up to 500 apps in order to harvest location data on hundreds of millions of individuals worldwide. https://t.co/kSIrcCwiBs
— Tom Fowdy (@Tom_Fowdy) August 9, 2020
The developers basically have a deal with Anomaly Six, paving the way to a lucrative revenue stream. Even if the application is free to use, the in-app purchases are an easy way to trap customers for longer devious pursuits.
Anomaly Six also claimed that they will support regulations and encourage disclosure by mobile apps regarding data collection. The company declined to comment or name mobile applications in question citing confidentiality agreements.
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