Coca-Cola has over 16 million network IDs stockpiled

Coca-Cola now owns 16 million unique network identifiers usually reserved for Wi-Fi cards and other networking equipment. This week, many people were surprised to learn that a soda company controls that many network IDs, with the geeks at Slashdot, a popular online hangout for techies, launching an epic discussion about what the company would do with all those addresses. But we already know a bit about Coke’s plans, and as we approach “The Internet of Things,” the fact of the matter is that this sort of network ID grab is par for the course.

You know those fancy new “freestyle” soda machines at some fast food restaurants that let you fill up with custom flavors? Well, they’re connected to the Internet so the Coca-Cola company can track what flavor combinations you’re trying. That’s just one way the company is using Internet connectivity to improve it’s ability to track consumer behavior and enhance logistics. To that end, the Coca-Cola company has stockpiled unique network identifiers that are “usually reserved for Wi-Fi cards and other networking equipment,” according to a recent story in Wired.

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