Titan, the outdoor media company that quietly installed 500 beacons into pay phone booths throughout New York City, has been asked by City Hall to remove all of the tracking devices according to an updated report from BuzzFeed News.
BuzzFeed originally discovered the company was placing the beacons, which can track a person’s movements and emit signals that are picked up by smartphones, into phone booths without notifying the public or gaining approval to do so. The small devices were reportedly installed between September and October of last year.
In-store beacons are becoming a popular trend for advertisers and companies looking to learn more about a customer’s shopping habits. Beacons are small, Bluetooth-enabled devices that can tell when a shopper is in a certain store, and, if the shopper has a compatible app, can then serve that shopper with an appropriate ad, coupon, or sales alert for the store.
It was unclear how these beacons in NYC phone booths were being used.
A spokesperson for New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio tells BuzzFeed News the beacons will be removed within the next few days.
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