NY cancels phone booth transmitter program that could have tracked cellphone users' movements

Associated Press

New York City is scuttling a project that would have installed in payphone booths thousands of transmitters that could track people's movements.

A private company named Titan had received city approval to install the beacons, which emit signals that are picked up by smartphones. It has put in 500 of them.

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The beacons could be used to send advertising onto people's cellphones. And they could be used to track the movements of the cellphones' owners.

The project was reported Monday morning in a joint piece published by BuzzFeed and the Daily News. Hours later, the city announced it had asked Titan to remove the beacons.

Titan says the beacons weren't intended to track people but it will honor the city's request to remove them.