Hidden "Beacons" Were Also Installed In L.A. And Chicago: Devices identical to those secretly planted in New York City phone booths have been installed in public spaces in Los Angeles and Chicago, BuzzFeed News has learned.
The Bluetooth devices known as “beacons” were installed in bus benches in Los Angeles and train stations in Chicago. Additional information obtained suggests that the devices were also installed in San Francisco, though BuzzFeed News was unable to independently confirm that allegation.
The beacons are manufactured by Gimbal Inc., the San Diego company that made the 500 beacons that were removed from New York City phone booths earlier this month, after a BuzzFeed News investigation revealed their existence.
Taken together, the programs reveal a broad initiative by Gimbal to quietly partner with outdoor advertising companies in major American cities. And they clarify the extent to which technology companies, cities, and brands have begun experimenting with new forms of commercial persuasion, with scant public notice.