A couple of weeks ago I posted an article on Facebook about bars and cafes tracking you via the wifi receiver on your phone via a company called Turnstyle Solutions. This company and their product has been in the news a lot lately because most people seem to feel it’s more than a bit dodgy for a bar or cafe to track their patrons movements and behaviours without letting them know they’re being monitored. What’s worse, is that if an establishment has this device installed and someone walks past their doors — in other words, they aren’t even going inside — with wifi turned on in their phone or tablet, their phones are still broadcasting information to these Turnstyle devices.
How do you know if a business you patronize is tracking you? For now, there is no way. — The Globe and Mail
I think it’s balls that you aren’t given any notice whatsoever that just walking past a place that has that device installed is scraping information off of your phone or tablet without your permission, but at least I’ve now found a way you can opt-out. This technology should 100% be opt-in, but since there aren’t any laws in place to protect people, you have to take matters into your own hands.
How to opt-out
First, go to Turnstyle’s opt-out page, where you are going to add your device’s Media Access Control (aka MAC ) number. This number is specific to the network adaptor in WiFi devices, ie your phone or tablet. Here’s how to find your device’s MAC number, via the excellent instructions on Optimum Online: Android, iOS, Windows. Once you have the number, enter into the text box on the opt-out page, fill out the captcha, and you’re done! Easy-peasy.
Who’s using Turnstyle?
Other than Happy Child on Queen Street West, I don’t know. Unsurprisingly that information isn’t available. Oh the irony.
Alternatively, you can turn the WiFi off on your phone, but I find this to be a hassle as I use the network at home and at work and actually want my phone to automatically connect to these when I enter into their ranges.Read More