Unpacking People's Understandings of Bluetooth Beacon Systems - A Location-Based IoT Technology

AbstractBluetooth beacon technology is an emerging location-based Internet of Things (IoT) technology, designed to transform proximity-based services in various domains such as retail. Beacons are part of the IoT infrastructure, but people rarely interact with them directly and yet they could still pose privacy risks to users. However, little is known about people's understandings of how beacon-based systems work. This is an important question since it can influence people's perceptions, adoption, and usage of this emerging technology. Drawing from 22 semi-structured interviews, we studied people's understandings of how beacon-based systems work and identified several factors that shaped their understandings or misunderstandings, such as how information flows among the components and who owns the beacons. These understandings and misunderstandings can potentially pose significant privacy risks to beacon users.


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