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You probably don’t know much about Drawbridge, but chances are it knows a lot about you.
The company, which has been pretty secretive until recently, has created a cross-device ad tracking technology, which it says lets marketers target individuals even as they jump from device to device.
In other words, Drawbridge tracks your online activity across devices to better determine who you are and what you like to do. If you search for “chefs knives” on your desktop, Drawbridge could make it so that you see ads for kitchenware on your smartphone.
Drawbridge’s product is attractive to marketers because it lets them retarget their desktop browser ads on the mobile web, where people are spending an increasing amount of their online time.
Drawbridge would rather you didn’t call what it does “tracking,” though.
“Tracking is a dirty word,” Drawbridge COO Eric Rosenblum told The New York Times in an interview published this weekend.
Instead, Rosenblum maintains that Drawbridge is “observing your behaviors and connecting your profile to mobile devices,” which is as euphemistic as euphemisms go. While Drawbridge may not like the word “tracking,” tracking is exactly what the company does.
While that may raise some red flags for the more privacy-concerned people out there, Drawbridge also points out that all of its data is anonymized, meaning the company doesn’t use any information that it sees as “personally identifiable.” So while Drawbridge might track your browsing history, it’s not doing so using information like your email address, legal name, or phone number.
While Drawbridge hopes that this lack of personally identifiable information reassures the public that no harm will come of the data collection, it’s tough to shake the sense that this technology is anything but bad for Internet users, many of whom still have no idea all of this sort of tracking is going on.