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New technology to allow advertisers to track user behaviour on multiple devices

Online privacy looks set to become just a little bit more complicated, following news that ad cookies could now begin tracking people across multiple devices.

According to a BBC report, Drawbridge, a firm that offers cross-gadget ad-tracking technology, could soon enable advertisers and marketers to follow users’ behaviour on their PCs, tablets and smartphones. The technology uses statistics to collect data through which it builds anonymous profiles of users. The statistics then calculate the probability that a tracked user is on his or her laptop, tablet or phone.

Drawbridge says it has amassed information for some 200 million users, tying them to their various devices and apps. The data is gathered through cookies placed when people visit particular websites, which is then tracked across gadgets to determine their patterns.

The company insists its data collection is completely anonymous, with no information tied to names, location data, or other personal details.

A spokesperson for the Information Commissioner’s Office, the UK’s data protection regulator, said Drawbridge must clear regulatory hurdles before being allowed to launch in the UK. Most importantly, it must prove that its data collection is truly anonymous and that there are no potential flaws that could breach personal information.

While Drawbridge insists the public is not at risk of privacy violations, previous concerns over ad-tracking cookies suggest that it may not be smooth sailing all the way.