What is TrustPID, the solution for digital advertising that Vodafone tests in Germany

MADRID, June 4. (Portaltic/EP) –

Vodafone has developed a new identification system called TrustPID, which is responsible for tracking users on the network to identify their tastes and needs in order to create commercial profiles with their data, which is currently being tested in Germany.

TrustPID is a pilot test of a technical solution for digital advertising that focuses on collaboration between users, brands and advertisers to explore new advertising formats on the internet.

From the TrustPID website, managed by Vodafone Sales and Services, they consider that “publishers need a sustainable revenue model, so it is essential to add a subscription to paywalls or rely on advertising to maintain free access to high-quality content.

With the aim of meeting these needs, this solution was born, still in the testing phase in Germany, which works like ‘cookies’, since it saves information during web browsing. However, this method stores data at the mobile Internet service provider (ISP) level.

The main difference with respect to ‘cookies’ is that it cannot be disabled or bypassed from the web browser settingsor by blocking the ‘cookies’ or the hiding of IP addresses, as indicated by BleepingComputer.

In this way, the operator in question, in this case Vodafone, is responsible for assigning a fixed IP to each client, collecting information on their activity on the Internet and offering it to advertisers to publish personalized and targeted ads.

Allegedly, this activity data is transmitted without revealing details that can identify users. This is possible since, as indicated on their website, TrustPID is a unique digital ‘token’ that is generated by assigning random numbers.

Thanks to this system, the risk of users being directly identified is reduced, while enabling advertisers and the ability to personalize their experience with prior consent.


This solution offered by the British telephone operator may endanger the privacy of users’ personal data, in the words of the member of the European Parliament and digital rights activist Patrick Breyer.

“These personality profiles, which even cover political views, sexual orientation and medical conditions, are a risk to privacy, but also to national security, where officials can be blackmailed,” Breyer told BleepingComputer.

This German MEP also believes that this method can be a problem for democracy, “where elections and referendums can be manipulated.” “A unique identification would allow us to monitor our entire digital life. These schemes are totally unacceptable and must stop,” Breyer added.

For its part, Vodafone has ensured the privacy offered by TrustPID and has insisted that this pilot program requires active consent in each participating website separately (opt-in) to be up and running.

Likewise, the company has stressed that users can resign at any time through the operator’s Privacy Portal, in the Data Protection section.

In relation to the storage and maintenance of user data, from TrustPID they indicate that they will store them “for as long as necessary in order to provide the requested services.

All of them will be deleted after a period of 90 days of inactivity of the users’ TrustPID and will cease to be used for advertising purposes within a maximum period of 24 hours, after which they will be deleted.

At the moment, the company does not know if this procedure will continue its course or how it will do it once the pilot phase is over, but rather it is only taking place to assess its viability.

It has also not announced whether it will carry out this pilot program in other countries. For its part, Vodafone Spain has indicated that it has no plans to test this technology, according to a statement sent to Europa Press.

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