Facebook app Cityware using Bluetooth to spy on people without their consent

Computers, Facebook Applications, Intellectual Property, Mobile phones, Software, Web 2.0

cityware-bluetooth-scanning.jpgResearch firm Cityware has hooked up thousands of Bluetooth scanners around the world and is using these to monitor how people move around the place – and dumping the data on Facebook.

The only problem is no one asked for the permission of some of the the scanees – so anyone with their phone’s Bluetooth powers enabled risks having their movements tracked by the freely-available Cityware software. Not such a big deal, says Cityware, as no data linking individuals to their movements is recorded, so there’s no way of telling who went from Starbucks to the library at 10.45am yesterday…

In the UK, the city of Bath is fingered as a Cityware Bluetooth spying hotspot, and as ever, privacy groups aren’t happy about this, with data security expert Rosemary Jay telling the The Telegraph that it “is an example of how the lack of sophistication in ordinary users of these sort of technologies leaves them at a disadvantage compared to the developers, the IT teams and the sophisticated users.”

Cityware even advertises its scanning status on Facebook, telling people to “add Cityware to your Facebook profile and switch on Bluetooth … Every time you encounter another Bluetooth device within range of a node the data will be uploaded to Facebook.”

So it’s legalised Facebook-stalking of people who don’t know how to turn off their mobile’s Bluetooth features? Excellent.

(Via The Telegraph)

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Gary Cutlack
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