Apple’s iBeacon spies on shoppers

iBeacon coming in Apple Stores

iBeacon coming in Apple Stores

When you updated your Apple device to iOS 7, you probably did not realize you have added a feature that would enable Apple to track your location. That feature is called iBeacon, which relies on Bluetooth transmitters to zero-in on your location more accurately than GPS, which cannot track where you are if you remain indoors.

While the iBeacon remains dormant in your Apple device, the company plans to enable this tracking feature whenever you are within its own retail stores, tracking your every activity and even offer alerts along the way.

According to Apple, the iBeacon would allow the company to send shoppers alerts about its products, events, and other announcements specific to the user’s location. Once they enter an Apple Store, its namesake app transforms into “in-store” mode, informing them they walked past a shelf full of iPads or what accessories are available inside that particular store. The Apple Store in New York’s Fifth Avenue has 20 iBeacon transmitters, reaching virtually everyone within its store space.

If you want Apple to spy on your shopping activity, simply install the latest version of the Apple Store app, turn on the Bluetooth radio, and allow permissions from iBeacon. The company is expected to activate iBeacon on its stores in United States–all 254 of them–within this weekend, at least according to Associated Press.

While Apple insists it is not collecting any data about individual shoppers, but iBeacon can enable apps to do it for them. The company adds that its tracking feature would give apps “a whole new level of micro-location awareness, such as trail markers in a park, exhibits in a museum, or product displays in stores.” Developers are welcomed to integrate iBeacon into their own apps, but users would still have to allow new permissions to be tracked and provide personal info.

Source: Information Week

Image source: 1000 Words / Shutterstock.com

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