Patternz: Commercial Surveillance Tool Tracking Billions Via Advertisements

The commercial surveillance tool named Patternz, offered by ISA, utilizes advertisements across numerous apps to track billions of people, according to claims by journalists, researchers, and the company itself.

Patternz employs real-time bidding (RTB) through advertisements to monitor over five billion individuals, as outlined in a report titled ‘Europe’s hidden security crisis.’ RTB is a technology where ad space on websites and apps is sold to advertisers through automated auctions, sending data about users’ activities to companies via bid requests.

By leveraging targeted advertisements, the surveillance tool can ascertain a person’s location and track their movements. ISA suggests that Patternz can also target the children and colleagues of an individual through its capabilities.

ISA’s CEO mentioned in a now-removed video that Patternz analyzes the behavior of over 600,000 applications, dubbing smartphones as the de facto electronic ankle monitor. The tool reportedly possesses profiles for more than five billion user IDs, extracting information, including location, through advertisements on smartphone apps without requiring any installation on the device.

Following inquiries by U.S. Senator Ron Wyden, Google closed the advertising account of a company associated with Patternz. Wyden criticized the delay in taking action, stating that Google had been aware of Patternz since June 2021.

Read this article from 404media for more information.

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