ENISA Report on Behavioral Tracking

The European Network and Information Security Agency released a report titled, “Privacy Considerations of Online Behavioral Tracking.” The report found that web browser-based solutions have yet to be used in mobile platforms. Tracking is often embedded into the applications themselves and “consequently, there is no way a user can express that he does not want to be tracked without uninstalling the applications. Solutions adapted to mobile platforms should be developed.”

The report fails to mention that platform providers are already taking steps to enable users to have more choice. For example, Apple’s new iOS6 includes the Identifier for Advertising functionality – instead of a permanent UDID, an anonymous number is assigned to the device at random. This feature is temporary, collects no personal information and can even be blocked in the user’s settings.

While there is room for improvement with respect to tracking in mobile apps, this agency should have acknowledged the new mechanisms already in place to more accurately reflect the current state of mobile tracking.

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