Vodafone is among the German phone companies participating in the TrustPid trial, in which mobile carriers generate pseudo-anonymous tokens based on users' IP addresses to provide personalized product recommendations for participating websites.
While TrustPid said this is done in a "secure and privacy-friendly way," the service has been deemed a "supercookie" by Internet privacy experts, who are calling for an end to the trial.
Vodafone officials stress that the digital tokens do not include personally identifiable information.
However, data protection and privacy consultant Pat Walshe said it would be difficult for TrustPid to claim it has obtained user consent.
Said Walshe, "I don't know how anybody would agree to an honest statement that we can analyze all your data, who you call, where you were when you called them, and so on. I don't know anybody who would agree to that statement—and it would have to be that explicit."
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