Silverpush says it's not in the ultrasonic audio-tracker ad-beacons business anymore

Silverpush, the company that pioneered covert ultrasonic audio beacons that let advertisers link your activity on phones, tablets and laptops, says it will no longer sell the technology and does not want to be associated with the idea any longer.

The announcement from Silverpush comes days after the US Federal Trade Commission warned app vendors who used audio beacons that they had to disclose the beacons' existence (the FTC can only take action like issuing fines after making such a warning).

Silverpush claims that none of the FTC-targeted app vendors were licensing its technology. The company would not say why it is abandoning the technology.

SilverPush’s press release seems to be a response to the FTC’s letter. It starts out by claiming that the company has “no active partnership with app developer [sic] based in the US,” and suggests that the apps the FTC is looking at are using different code from a competing company. Of course, SilverPush doesn’t explicitly deny that it had such partnerships before the FTC published its letter.

At the same time, the press release goes on to “clarify” that the SilverPush’s decision has nothing to do with privacy concerns at all, because it was “never intruding intruding [on] privacy and adhering to all regulations.” SilverPush also claims that its audio beacon matching was “done with user consent.” But this makes no sense given that users were never made aware of the fact that their apps were running SilverPush code in the first place; the FTC specifically noted this in its open letter, demanding that app developers either disclose their use of SilverPush code or remove it entirely.

Creepy Ad Company Says It Will Stop Eavesdropping With ‘Audio Beacons’
[Joshua Kopstein/Motherboard]

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