Mark Cuban, the billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks and Landmark Theaters, is helping to fund a startup called BlueCava–a firm that hopes to boost your control over online marketing by tracking you online. Cuban is part of a group that just gave BlueCava $5 million in capital.
The startup styles itself as being good at two things: “We target online advertising better. And we help fight fraud.” Of course, both of these are good for consumers, in theory: Better ad targeting means you’ll be exposed to more relevant ads that connect you to services you may use. And less fraud means your identity is safer, and firms may be able to charge you less, as they’ll suffer less financial losses.
But how does it work? “Here’s the dealio,” the company says on its homepage. “BlueCava has a patented way of identifying the unique fingerprint of any electronic device that is connected to the Internet. Think big, like over 10 billion devices in the world big.”
So we’re talking about a unique ID number for all your gear, held in a private company’s database. What does that mean? How long would it be before government agencies start subpoenaing that kind of information?
Cuban clearly isn’t worried about this (or he sees it all another way to make money). Not content with contributing to this funding round, he’s joining the board. And BlueCava’s CEO David Norris spoke to the New York Times and described his business thus: “Some people view us as the next generation of technology that will extend beyond what cookies can do.”
Considering how much trouble Facebook’s just got itself into over “unique IDs,” BlueCava had better have some extremely strict rules in place.
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