Equinox Consulting

It skids – Clic and Walk : When Big Data invites itself in our mobile phones

Anaïs Bussière at 2015-07-20 in Ca décape / ça dérape

Clic and Walk has revolutionized marketing! By infiltrating the private life of its 230,000 users, this startup company provides its clients with information on the « real world » context of its products. But the question is: For what purpose is the collected geolocalized data actually used? Is Big Data compiled via our mobile phones used without our knowledge?

France 2 presented this issue to the startup company in last February. When visiting the premises of the startup company for filming a documentary dedicated to them, the Envoyé Spécial journalist has realized that the geolocalized data of users was not protected and was accessible to all employees. The CNIL (National Commission on Informatics and Liberty) is well aware of this issue. For three years, through its Mobilitics project, it has been analysing how data is used through smartphones.

ClicandWalk1Source : « Innovation and Prospective » letter from CNIL – Nov. 2014

After a first series of tests on IOS in 2013, a new series was started in 2014 on Android. Its findings can be scary: over a period of 3 months, one application accessed geolocalization over 1 million times and a second application over 700,000 times, representing an average of nearly one access per minute over a period of 3 months. None of these applications were for navigation or direction purposes.

What about Clic and Walk ?

Created in May 2012 in Tourcoing by Frédérique Grigolato and rewarded in 2014 by the NetExplo observatory, the startup company Clic and Walk has launched a new concept (registered trademark): « Crowdmarketing ». Telephone or street surveys are things of the past; it is now the consumers themselves, called click-walkers, who choose their missions,provide feedback and upload images through a mobile application.

ClicandWalk2Source : Screenprint of Clic and Walk’s IOS application

Whether it is to verify the visibility or the price of a product, the implementation of an ad campaign or to understand the use of a product, they complete geolocalized missions compensated from €0.50, during which they must respond to specific questions and attach geolocalized images. This information is, after validation, compiled into statistics and shared in real time with advertisers who are clients of the startup company. They can thus verify, with picture proof, the effectiveness of their marketing campaign.

ClicandWalk3Source : Screenprint of Clic and Walk’s website

Targeting all industries, from manufacturing to cosmetics, Clic and Walk boasts some renowned brands among its clients, such as Franprix, Suez Nord, La Française des Jeux, l’Oréal, SFR, Peugeot, Logitech, Hyundai, Auchan or Ikea. The startup company has its presence in France, Germany and England, and is currently expanding to Spain and Italy.

Regarding its user data security, the startup company now assures that a recent Apple upgrade had led to this incident and that it is now fixed. To be continued.

Plus :

  • CNIL-INRIA : ces liens étroits entre géolocalisation et apps sur les smartphones Android – link
  • D’iOS à Android : des applications mobiles indiscrètes selon la CNIL – link
  • Clic and Walklink


Anais Bussière   Anaïs

Senior Consultant

Digital, Retail Banking & SFS

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