Sunday, March 20, 2016

NYC's Free Wi-Fi Program Could Track And Share Your Browsing History

New Yorkers might want to hesitate before using those cool new Wi-Fi stations replacing the city’s phone booths: Civil liberties groups warn they can store your Internet browsing history, which could then fall into the NYPD’s hands—or worse.

In an open letter to the mayor’s office, the New York Civil Liberties Union has warned that the new LinkNYC program gives itself the option to legally track and store the activity of those who use it.

In its privacy policy for the program, the company behind LinkNYC, CityBridge, says it can collect a trove of information from people who use the free Wi-Fi, including their email address and their real names for login purposes, as well as their browsing history to use for advertising purposes. The company retains the right to allow third-party advertisers to target ads to users based on this information, though it will not sell or share personally identifiable information to third parties. CityBridge, however, can even track users’ locations: “We know where we provide Wi-Fi services, so when you use the Services we can determine your general location,” the company says.

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