NYC now has hundreds of ad beacons in phone booths (update: mayor orders them removed)
I've been seeing strange things happening to NY phonebooths over the past year or so. Suddenly a booth would appear, wrapped in a piece of sheet metal with a large sticker ad adhered to the entire three sided surface. It was strange because the installation covered what were three regular and working advertising boxes, for seemingly no reason. Well that reason has been revealed to be the installation of a Gimbal beacon capable of communicating with your smart phone and collecting passive data used to build a user profile. I'm glad to finally know why these strange phonebooths have started appearing and sad to know its part of a larger push to make advertising more effective, and invasive.
VIA: EngadgetBuzzfeed has learned that New York City allowed hundreds of bluetooth beacons to be installed without public consultation, a decision that has roused the ire of privacy groups. Outdoor ad outfit Titan installed around 500 Gimbal beacons in phone booths around Manhattan, skirting normal red tape by saying they were deployed for maintenance purposes only. However, it admitted it's also using them to decide when to rotate ad panels and recently pushed smartphone ads to Tribeca Film Festival participants. The devices can also pick up location and time data, though Titan told the NY Daily News that it is "absolutely, categorically not" doing so unless users opt in and install a third-party app. More [HERE]