Blocking of Ad tracking via ultrasonic sound across devices

Discussion in 'Feature Requests (AdGuard for Android)' started by Charlie Copeland, May 5, 2017.

  1. Charlie Copeland

    Charlie Copeland New Member

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    You may already be aware of this issue, but it is new to me. I first learned about it today form:
    http://www.zdnet.com/article/hundre...17cfd61&bhid=21920984823979904861134656766145.

    One of the referenced papers is from http://ubeacsec.org/, and they have a Chrome Browser extension to filter out ultrasonic sound (see http://ubeacsec.org/#Downloads) plus a patch to Android to change microphone permission request to halt ultrasonic sound use. Both released under the Apache 2.0 license.

    Is this something that could be implemented for Android and Windows, which are the main two platforms I use the most?
     
  2. vasily_bagirov

    vasily_bagirov Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    @Charlie Copeland I don't think it is that important for Windows, as stationary PCs are hardly affected by this. For Android, on the other hand, it has more sense, but creating a good frequency analyzer is not easy, and on top of that it would consume battery resource as crazy when you watch a video stream or listen to music etc.

    The other thing to consider is that any app for Android 6+ will ask for permission to use the mic when you install it. For some apps it may be a red flag.
     
  3. Charlie Copeland

    Charlie Copeland New Member

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    It is important on the desktop, because they are using cross-device tracking, from portable devices to stationary to further ID/profile you for ad tracking. It is also being used to ID people using TOR or BitCoin by cross device tracking. They play an ultrasonic sound on 1 device and listen and report back on other devices, thereby linking them together and eventually being able to tie it to a person and place. I suggest you at least read the first link I gave for a brief synopsis of the issue(s).
     
  4. avatar

    avatar Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    Cross-device tracking is usually achieved by other means. For instance, they might be using your google advertising ID to link your mobile device with your browser in the case of using a single Google account in both of them.

    Technically, it's quite hard to block apps from receiving these ultrasonic signals as people usually pay no attention to what permissions do their apps need. However, we can (and we do) use good old requests blocking approach so that information about those signals didn't reach the tracking server. Again, this type of tracking becomes increasingly popular on mobile devices, but it does not really concern stationary or laptop computers.