Beacons are little radio modules that can be used to send a stream of ads to shoppers' smartphones. They have other potential uses for commerce, as well. But for the service, the users has to surrender personal data.
Consumers have to have the right apps installed on their smartphones to receive product information from the Beacons. Then, when they enter a given shop, they automatically receive advertizing, coupons and personalized offers as push messages on screen. The problem here is protecting their privacy. By using this type of Beacon, consumers reveal a great deal about their personal tastes - and lives. Tracking data are collected that can be used to piece together a picture of their purchasing patterns. Laws restricting the use of such data are not yet in place.