The truth is that our location is being constantly tracked… By NSA, by Google, Facebook, Foursquare, by governments, marketeers and location analytics firms. Companies like Path Intelligence and Euclid Analytics collect the presence of our mobile devices, its signal strength, its manufacturer and a MAC address (a unique identification number tied to your device) in retail stores and shopping malls. Last year in London, a start-up called Renew installed a dozen recycling bins that sniffed MAC addresses from people passing by, effectively tracking the crowd via their phones.
A tiny technical change in iOS8 – new mobile operating system revealed last week by Apple may make it impossible to track your location via MAC address. The new feature prompts your iPhone to generate a random MAC address when it scans for public WiFi networks. This means that although the router will be able to detect your device, it won’t know whether or not the same device is returning to that particular location.
Even though stores do not mine this data to try to identify individuals and use it for marketing research purposes there are plenty of privacy concerns about the data collection, especially since people tend to be unaware that it is happening. Good way to go Apple.
source: The Verge