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Festival fans tracked by Bluetooth scanners

Bluetooth is being used to track the movement of crowds

Festival goers willing to expose themselves to Coldplay and Oasis in Belgium this weekend will also have to run the gauntlet of an experimental Bluetooth tracking system that will keep an eye on their every move.

Visitors to the Rock Werchter event northeast of Brussels, which ends on Sunday, will be monitored through the Bluetooth signals from their mobile phones in an effort to analyse crowd behaviour.

Where do you want to go?

Researchers from the University of Ghent have installed 36 scanners across the festival site with the goal of developing new sat-nav and security applications by better understanding human movement over time.

One of the team explained a retail scenario: "Tracking movements via Bluetooth could become very interesting. It could help retailers keep track of the number of customers at different times."

Nothing personal

The 80,000 festival goers need not, however, be worried about their privacy, as the scanners track only phones' network addresses and not their numbers or other identifying details.

Via Reuters