In this report, the authors demonstrate how every time we use our phones, a large number of shadowy entities that are virtually unknown to consumers are receiving personal data about our interests, habits, and behavior. As we move around on the internet and in the real world, we are being continually tracked and profiled for the purpose of showing targeted advertising. The actors, who are part of the so-called digital marketing and adtech industry, use this information to track us over time and across devices, in order to create comprehensive profiles about individual consumers. In turn, these profiles and groups can be used to personalize and target advertising, but also for other purposes such as discrimination, manipulation, and exploitation. Although the adtech industry operates across different media such as websites, smart devices, and mobile apps, the authors chose to focus on adtech in apps.
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