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FYI: TrustPid, keeping the free internet free – effortlessly!

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Yesterday Spiegel Online published an article about a new project called TrustPid [de], a collaborative effort of Deutsche Telekom and Vodafone Deutschland to create a mechanism for internet content financing. With the money I pay them every month, you ask? I giggle. Nono, it's free of charge for you! Trust your provider!:)

The idea is this: Whenever you browse the internet using your GSM connection on Vodafone, Vodafone assigns your connection a unique, personal ID which is based on your telephone number (hence, the Pid). When viewing websites like this, those websites can then request this PID and use it for all kinds of things. They can also contribute back the fact you were viewing that particular website. This way, websites will get financing they wouldn't get otherwise (because there simply are no other ways to finance a website except targeted advertising, you should know this by now!). It's also good because your ad profile is collected by European companies – and saved in Europe.

What about the Trust part of the name? I guess, it means something like Trust the internet, no one will ever abuse this. Or maybe Trust us because it's not US companies doing this for a change.



When you're with T-Mobile D or Vodafone DE, make sure to never use the VPN. Best to also disable DNS over HTTPS or DNS over TLS. Very important. Otherwise this cool new project might not succeed and your favorite free internet websites will disappear overnight! A shocking thought.

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April 1st was 2 full months ago. That's a lot of text, I will sum it up:
Your connection metadata + cross-service tracking + precise geolocation = Mobile carrier ❤ privacy
If you don't support the initiative, you'll leave authors and creators hungry!!!

Quote
Geo-targeting is nothing new for app marketers. Delivering recommendations and content to users at relevant times according to their location is vital for successful engagement. 5G will improve advertisers ability to pinpoint the location of users and will allow them to target them more effectively. The retail industry will be one of the first to reap the benefits of ever more precise geo-targeting. When shoppers enter a department store, a coupon, discount code, or marketing material could be delivered straight to their smartphone.
...
Video advertising, extended reality, geo-targeting, and monetization are just a handful of the exciting areas in which 5G will reshape the industry. For app marketers, now is the time to start preparing for the mainstream arrival of 5G.
- Forbes, 2021

5 Ways to Take Advantage of 5G Mobile Marketing:
Quote

Think of your campus the same way retailers think about a storefront. With greater precision in geo-targeting , you’ll be able to:

  • Hit phones with a link to a welcome video the moment their owners set foot on campus.
  • Automatically send visitors a promotional video about athletics as they approach an event venue.
  • On visit days, send short videos about living on campus as they approach the dorms, about meals as they approach the dining hall, etc
 
Quote
5G positioning and use cases - Mobile broadband (MBB)

Consumers with a cellular phone will also experience accurate positioning through 5G. It is expected that with some reasonable density of deployments in urban areas, 10 meters (m) positioning accuracy can be achieved.

...
To enable more accurate positioning measurements than LTE, new reference signals were added to the NR specifications. These signals are the positioning reference signal (NR PRS) in the downlink and the sounding reference signal (SRS) for positioning in the uplink. The downlink positioning reference signal (PRS) is the main reference signal supporting downlink-based positioning methods.
- Ericsson, 2020
 
Quote

What kind of requirements does 5G have for positioning technology?

TR 38.855 (a research report on NR localization) describes the requirements for R16:


For regulatory use, minimum performance requirements:
-The horizontal positioning accuracy of 80% UE in the area is better than 50 meters.
-The vertical positioning accuracy of 80% UE in the region is better than 5 meters.
-The end-to-end delay is less than 30 seconds.

For commercial applications, minimum performance requirements:
-80% UE horizontal positioning accuracy in the area is better than 3m (indoor) and 10m (outdoor).
-The vertical positioning accuracy of 80% UE in the area is better than 3 meters (indoor and outdoor).
-The end-to-end delay is less than 1 second.
...
Qualcomm earlier demonstrated the scenario of 5G indoor high-precision positioning (<30 cm)
- Archclearing, 2020 (via "White Paper on 5G Indoor Integrated Positioning in October 2020")

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20 hours ago, Stalinium said:
Your connection metadata + cross-service tracking + precise geolocation = Mobile carrier ❤ privacy

The summary is flawed as TrustPid does not use geolocation for all that's known about it. It's really "only" using the mobile phone number for UID generation and making it available to anyone asking.

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Approximate geolocation is already tied to your phone connection: the location of the cell tower. Since TrustPid allows websites to get a unique mobile user identifier (IP:port? -> user ID) then it means technically the geolocation can also be shared (mobile user ID -> mobile connection -> connection information -> geolocation). Further as I quoted above, 5G (or 4G with extensions) allows very accurate geolocation without using GPS, and this geolocation is part of the protocol.
Thus TrustPid can share IP:port -> unique user + geolocation. This may not be allowed in Europe due to GDPR, but there are lesser restrictions in countries like USA, Montenegro, UK (T-Mobile) and the entire list of Vodafone's presence.

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54 minutes ago, Stalinium said:

then it means technically the geolocation can also be shared (mobile user ID -> mobile connection -> connection information -> geolocation).


Let's not get ahead of ourselves here. Right now the certain info is PID derived from phone number and maybe ICCID (aka SIM card number). No word on geolocation or sockets, as both of these are constantly at flux in a real world setting; besides, why use geolocation if you're already unique by PID? It's problematic on its own already and simply shouldn't exist, regardless of the "addons".

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Yes it was speculation on my part about how it worked.
A unique user ID is valuable because you can connect the user to a historic user profile. The geographic location is very valuable on top of that, for geo-targeted ad bidding. These are expensive but very relevant for large cities. The main use-case is illustrated by this example. "A user is currently in Paris, on street X. You are a restaurant owner who places an ad with geographic location. When the user is nearby, he will be shown a banner that there's a good restaurant, within few minutes of walking". In comparison, the unique ID will allow to match if the user lives in Paris/is out there on a weekend trip or is a tourist from a different country. Maybe you want the restaurant only to be advertised to Parisians?
Geolocation is the logical continuation of the other, if permitted.

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