Beacons and Privacy

Friday, 8th January 2016

In a retail context, beacons are essentially Bluetooth transmitters that communicate with an authorised app when the device housing that app is within the vicinity. The technology uses electronic sensors in airports, stadiums and especially in retail environments to analyse consumer behaviour and enhance the customer experience. Retailers use them to promote discounts and personalised offers, and they are used to track in-store customers, analyse crowd and customer behaviour, and support contactless payments. The ability to direct messages in novel and unforeseen ways, however, has given rise to real privacy concerns.

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