How else do we explain a technology as chillingly surveillant as SilverPush? The Indian startup’s claim to fame is the audio beacon, a supersonic sound that’s played when you view an appropriately enabled web ad. You can’t hear it, but if SilverPush has managed to infect your phone or tablet with its software, it will pick up the sound and contact a tracking server associating your computer with your handheld device. And hey, this supersonic tracking isn’t limited to the web – SilverPush is putting its tags in television ads as well! In an ad tech’s wet dream, you’d watch a SilverPush-enabled car ad on your television while using your laptop, phone and tablet, all of which would report to the company’s servers, allowing it to check whether you’d subsequently searched for information on the car in question.
This paragraph, in a text block that is given only about half of the page width,1 is interrupted by an ad block that fills half the width of the content area. The page itself has, according to Ghostery, five different advertising sources, as well as a social networking script or two and another script categorized as a ‘beacon’ – namely, existing only to track my behavior.2