Michela Tarantolo

Bluetooth technology allows users to connect to other devices, share data, and transfer information wirelessly from one device to another. Bluetooth has many great qualities, such as its simplicity, which makes it easy to use and convenience. It allows users to connect quickly with their headphones, speakers, and other various devices nearby. It relates to surveillance studies because Bluetooth can easily track one’s location and our information can be at risk (Gilliom & Monahan, 2013). Since a user has the option of allowing connections, we can choose to open ourselves to this form of surveillance. Enabling Bluetooth can put a user at risk, “Be careful with your Bluetooth: ‘bluesnarfing’ hackers can access a Bluetoother’s address book, email, and call history…” (Gilliom & Monahan, p.15) Bluesnarfing makes it possible to become vulnerable towards hackers as they can completely control your phone. Haataja et al. (2013) explains, “Because Bluetooth is a wireless communication system, there is always a possibility that the transmission could be deliberately jammed or intercepted, or that false or modified information could be passed to the piconet devices” (p. 2). Bluetooth is a technology which enables lots of forms of surveillance.

An example of Bluetooth technology and surveillance is Bluetooth scanners. Researchers found that these scanners “covertly tracked [people] without their consent in a technology experiment which has installed scanners at secret locations in offices, campuses, streets and pubs to pinpoint people’s whereabouts.” (Lewis, 2008, para. 1). These scanners are designed to become a new way to target advertisements towards customers at certain times, such as when they enter a specific store. This tactic can have extremely positive results and could even be sustainable as it would eliminate flyers, catalogs, and coupons.


Gilliom, J., & Monahan, T. (2013). SuperVision: An introduction to the surveillance society. Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press.

Haataja, K., Hyppönen, K., Pasanen, S., and Toivanen, P. (2013). Bluetooth security attacks: Comparative analysis, attacks, and countermeasures. New York, NY: Springer

Heidelberg, L. P. (2008, July 20). Bluetooth is watching: Secret study gives Bath a flavour of Big Brother. The Guardian. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2008/jul/21/civilliberties.privacy.


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Key Concepts in Surveillance Studies Copyright © 2019 by Michela Tarantolo is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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