City Hall Tells Tech Company to Remove Surveillance “Beacons” Hidden Throughout NYC

photo via Inside.com

Just yesterday we reported that New York City permitted a company called Titan to install onto phone booth advertising displays at least 500 “beacons” (according to Mashable.com–thousands), devices which can track smart phone users’ locations and can control advertising on phones in the vicinity. The mechanisms were manufactured by a San Diego company Gimbal without the knowledge of NYC residents.

Originally, the city said Titan only wanted to install the beacons for maintenance purposes, but some reports indicate that they were used for other reasons, such as alerting festivalgoers at Tribeca Film Festival about nearby venues. In response to this discovery, City Hall has now asked that Titan remove all of its Bluetooth transmitters placed throughout the city.

Titan denied ever taking gathering data from passing phones, and the New York Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications said any effort made to use the beacons for “explicit commercialization” would need the city’s approval. While Titan insists there were only testing the devices’ effectiveness, the city has declared the “test” to be over.

Zachery Bridgeman | News Cult

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