Company & Industry News


Location Data & Protecting Consumer Privacy

August 21, 2017 by Reveal Mobile


Reveal Mobile’s business is built around turning anonymized mobile location data into audience segments. From the beginning, we’ve built end user privacy into our company culture and products. We’ve been and continue to be transparent about this, what data we collect, why we collect it, and how our customers use the data. We’re a part of mobile location advertising industry, which BIA Kelsey forecasts to be a $29.5B industry by 2020.

We frequently hear and understand the concern around tracking mobile location. We take our customers’ and their users’ privacy seriously. The data we collect is always anonymized and grouped into audience segments, like coffee drinkers or frequent shoppers. We offer no product or service that permits anyone to see an individual device’s location data.

In August 2017, various news outlets made claims that Reveal Mobile collected and used location data even when users were not opted in. This was entirely inaccurate and false. Reveal Mobile does not currently, nor has it ever, stored any information from devices that opt-out of data sharing.

The confusion arose when a security analyst noticed that Reveal Mobile complied with app store polices by ceasing the sending of GPS lat/lon data when opted out of the location permission, but still sent IP address and WiFi SSID. These last two data points are not controlled by the location permission opt-out on mobile devices. While technically it is possible to use IP and WiFI to approximate a device’s location even if opted-out of data sharing, Reveal Mobile did not share, store or utilize this data in any way for devices that were opted-out of location sharing.

Reveal Mobile immediately updated the company’s software to make it completely obvious that no data would be sent or collected from devices that opt-out of data sharing. We posted this information publicly on our website, and promptly notified customers of the update.

We follow all app store guidelines, honoring all device level and app level opt-outs and permissions. If someone chooses the operating system level “do not track” or “limit ad tracking” functionality, we stop collecting data from that device and prevent any further data collection from it. We also provide the ability for anyone to opt-out of data collection by Reveal Mobile by contacting us directly.  

We work alongside our customers, the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA), and the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) to ensure we’re following their best practices around location data collection. We serve on the MMA’s Privacy Committee and the IAB’s Public Policy Council to ensure we stay compliant with any new regulations, and are prepared for new regulations, like the forthcoming European Union’s GDPR. If we find a mistake, or if others find a mistake, we correct it and notify our customers. When new regulations emerge, we comply.

Our business is in good standing with the governing bodies that enable us to do business. We do everything in our power to ensure end user privacy, stay compliant with all app store policies, and to follow the best practices set forth by our industry.

We always welcome new conversations around the mobile location ecosystem and protecting privacy. The increased transparency means we will have more honest conversations about the topic, and therefore create more trust in the industry.