Michael Kwet wrote a New York Times article titled In Stores, Secret Surveillance Tracks Your Every Move.
“Imagine you are shopping in your favorite grocery store. As you approach the dairy aisle, you are sent a push notification in your phone: ’10 percent off your favorite yogurt! Click here to redeem your coupon.’ You considered buying yogurt on your last trip to the store, but you decided against it. How did your phone know? Your smartphone was tracking you… [with] Bluetooth beacons.”
“Most people aren’t aware they are being watched with beacons, but the ‘beacosystem’ tracks millions of people every day… at airports, malls, subways, buses, taxis, sporting arenas, gyms, hotels, hospitals, music festivals, cinemas … even on billboards.”
“The makers of many popular apps, such as those for news or weather updates, insert these toolkits into their apps.”
“Location data companies often collect additional data provided by apps. A location company called Pulsate, for example, encourages app developers to pass them customer email addresses and names. Companies like Reveal Mobile collect data from software development kits inside hundreds of frequently used apps. In the United States, another company, inMarket, covers 38 percent of millennial moms and about one-quarter of all smartphones, and tracks 50 million people each month.”
“It should not be lost on the public that Apple created the first Bluetooth system of commercial surveillance. Apple’s chief executive, Tim Cook, recently wagged his finger at the ‘data-industrial complex.’ Unlike other tech giants that monetize surveillance, Apple relies upon hardware sales, he said. But Mr. Cook knew what Apple was creating with iBeacon in 2013. Apple’s own website explains to developers how they can use iBeacon to micro-target consumers in stores.”