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Canada Privacy Transportation

Bluetooth Used To Track Traffic Times 133

Posted by samzenpus
from the hows-it-look-out-there? dept.
First time accepted submitter ChanukahZombie writes "The City of Calgary, AB has introduced a new traffic congestion/timing information platform for drivers. 'The system collects the publicly available data from Bluetooths to estimate the travel time and congestion between points along those roads and displays the information on overhead message boards to motorists.' Currently only available on the Deerfoot Trail (the city's main highway artery) but will be 'expanded in the future to include sections of Crowchild Trail and Glenmore Trail in the southwest.' As for privacy concerns, the city says it cannot connect the MAC address collected to the device owner."
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Bluetooth Used To Track Traffic Times

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  • by aNonnyMouseCowered (2693969) on Wednesday November 28, 2012 @07:27PM (#42124873)
    TFA is low on details re: what Bluetooth devices are being monitored. I know my cellphone and laptop have Bluetooth support, but I keep that mostly turned off. Do all cars in Canada come with built-in Bluetooth tracking technology? Triangulating from actual cellphone signals appears to me to be a more fool-proof if not spook-proof technology. The limited range of BT devices do make them a better choice in terms of privacy.
  • Re:But... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Charliemopps (1157495) on Wednesday November 28, 2012 @07:52PM (#42125131)

    Because everyone knows it's impossible to spoof a mac address...

  • by petman (619526) on Wednesday November 28, 2012 @09:16PM (#42125789)
    I wonder how Google is able to map the traffic density in countries where Google Map navigation is not available. For example, Google Map navigation is not available here in Malaysia, so I use a modded version of the Google Map android app that allows navigation internationally. Surprisingly, I can turn on the Traffic layer in the app and it would show the traffic density. Is Google actually getting the data from the modded apps? I would be surprised if so many people here are actually using the modded version instead of the official app that disables navigation.
  • by petman (619526) on Wednesday November 28, 2012 @09:22PM (#42125853)
    Personally I think this is an ingenious use of technology. You people are so paranoid about privacy. You seem to be able to find a sinister side to everything, don't you? Come on, get over it. Let's celebrate creativity instead of always raining on people's parade.
  • by Obfuscant (592200) on Wednesday November 28, 2012 @10:04PM (#42126149)

    Wait, so you're saying the system is easily corruptible and bypassable, but it still makes it feasible?

    Back in the 60s, they had these things called "payphones". Little slots you put money in, you got to call other people. There was info around specifying what kind of washer (and the mod to it) would substitute for a quarter. Easily corruptible. Some of the phones, all you had to do was short the microphone case to the phone and you got free calls. Easily corruptible. Very feasible.

    In the 70s, the uni library had a copy machine system that people could put a card into and charge copies to their accounts. A simple plastic card, with an internal layer that was opaque to IR -- except for the holes punched into it before being laminated between two IR transparent but visibly opaque covers. Easily corruptible. (All you had to do was punch holes in a standard playing card until the system accepted it as valid...) Very feasible.

    Every so often, the road department puts out traffic counting systems to determine how many cars use certain roads. Used to be a simple hose with a pressure sensor. Yeah, someone could jump up and down on the hose and create fictional cars. Easily corruptible system, but very feasible.

    Any system where the expectation of being gamed is low enough that the cost of being gamed is covered by the honest people is still easily corruptible but quite feasible for regular use. Most people aren't going to be spoofing their bluetooth MAC address while driving down the road, if they even know how to do it. That makes this easily corruptible system quite feasible for measuring average traffic speeds.

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