Bluetooth: A Danger to Privacy

Bluetooth leaves you open to intercept by anyone

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

If you are concerned about your civil liberties and privacy then it may come as a shock to you to discover that you may have, unwittingly, been allowing your phone to signal your every move to the great wide world, including your communications.

Bluetooth, which is, as most will know, a wireless link built into many mobile telephones, makes our movements trackable by anyone equipped with a PC and an appropriate receiver. And this means ANYONE, not just the security services and the police, if that would not already be bad enough. Anyone, as the word says, can listen in and track where you are if they have the right equipment.

Vassilis Kostakos at the University of Bath in the UK placed four Bluetooth receivers in the city's centre. Over four months, his team tracked 10,000 Bluetooth phones and was able to "capture and analyse people's encounters" in pubs, streets and shops.

Bluetooth is now more of a privacy threat than the more frequently publicised RFID chips, Kostakos says. "If people are worried, they should turn off the Bluetooth function on their mobile phones."

Not everything, as we can, yet again see, that is supposedly good for us, is so.

“Oh, but without my 'Bluetooth' I cannot make phone calls on the move”, I hear some complain. “Can we not just make those things safer?”

Well, we probably could and could add encryption, if you, the consumer, is willing to pay the high costs then.

What is wrong with safely stopping your car, motorbike or your bicycle, to take or make that call? Also, no call is that important that it cannot wait until you get to a safe location where to return the call or make a call.

If you are concerned about your privacy, as said, turn the Bluetooth function off. While it may be something that can and does make life easier it also, yet again, is something that can be used to invade our privacy and to spy on us.

© M Smith (Veshengro), May 2008