Toronto Pearson Int’l Airport to track passengers using BlipTrack

A company called, Amor Group  will be installing the largest passenger tracking system in North America utilizing the first commercial installation of BluFi, delivered by BlipTrack, at Toronto Pearson International Airport. BlipTrack is the first system in the world to track mobile phones, completely anonymously Amor cliams, through augmented Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connections. The hope is that the technology will provide a clear picture of passenger wait times at key process points like security, customs, etc… It will also provide passengers with live, automated wait time information ensuring they are kept informed as they move through the airport.  The integrated Wi-Fi and Bluetooth tracking system of BlipTrack enables it to track smartphones, such as iPhones and Android devices, which cannot be tracked through Bluetooth alone. Amor Group claims “the technology provides a robust and future proof way to manage resources and help passengers as they visit the airport.”

This is an interesting use of technology but it does bring up questions of privacy and security.  I am sure that there will be plenty of groups examining how much information BlipTrack collects about a person its tracking, what type of information it’s able to access via your smartphone once its connected via BluFi, etc…  According to Amor’s website, “BlipTrack solutions follow human movement in real time. BlipTrack is able to track the same person walking, bicycling, driving a car, using a train, ferry, plane and any other type of transportation.”  So the question that brings to my mind is, if I connect through Pearson and my phone is turned on (meaning they can connect to me via my Bluetooth & Wifi) could they then also track me in other places?   I asked the Former Chief Technology Officer of a major social networking site that very question.  The answer?  Yes, it’s technically possible. Whether Amor Group is doing it or not – who knows – only they can answer that question.

I’m all in favor of using technology to improve customer experience, but I also think there needs to be oversight so that passenger’s privacy rights are maintained.  I’m glad this is being rolled out in Canada because they have some of the strictest privacy laws in North America (and perhaps some of the stronger in the world) and I’m sure they’ll be watching this closely.

What do you think?  Are you comfortable being tracked?

5 Comments on "Toronto Pearson Int’l Airport to track passengers using BlipTrack"

  1. Interesting application of the Bluetooth listening model. This is how the City of Houston calculates traffic metrics for the highways via the TransStar system. I will say it is the most accurate system I have experienced to date hope it works as well for YYZ.

  2. I believe this is how Google gets its traffic data for maps as well, by looking at how android phones are moving on roads relative to cell towers/etc.

  3. Seems like we’re headed for “Minority Report” …

  4. Number of airports in Europe use bluetooth tracking to give an estimate for security check queues. Google e.g. “helsinki airport bluetooth”.

    The system used at HEL is Amor’s PAXPath+

  5. Will track, with love?

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