Secret ad beacon network uncovered, shut down in New York City

For almost a year, a company called Titan has operated a network of advertising beacons, devices that are capable of identifying nearby smartphones and which are often used to push advertisements and information to them, installed within pay phone booths throughout New York City without the knowledge of its residents, BuzzFeed News reported today.

BuzzFeed discovered the beacons with an Android app called iBeacon Detector, which shows information about beacons operating within reach of the device on which the app is installed. With the app, BuzzFeed uncovered more than 13 of Titan’s beacons operating “on a 20-block stretch along Broadway and Sixth Avenue” in Manhattan. A spokesman for New York City’s Department of Information Technology and Communications (DoITT) told BuzzFeed that Titan had installed about 500 of the devices throughout the city.

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Network World Colin Neagle