Cool or creepy? Houston airports now tracking phone signals to provide checkpoint data

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Friday, January 20, 2017

Houston airports are now tracking available Bluetooth signals on travelers' phones to provide real-time data on checkpoint wait times.

The technology is similar to what's found in other large airports around the country.

Devices around checkpoints look for discoverable Bluetooth devices, like your phone, then track that data from the beginning of the checkpoint to the terminal to provide wait times for each terminal.

Some terminals already had this feature, but now all checkpoints have it, a spokesperson with the airport said.

The data tracking doesn't come without some raised eyebrows. Security experts say if you don't want to be tracked, you should disable your Bluetooth when in the airport.

Airport officials insist the tracking is anonymous and that user data is not stored anywhere.

"The tracking is anonymous and uses a variety of filters to ensure both anonymity and accuracy, and then uses that data to provide an average time for travelers passing through the checkpoints," said Houston airport spokesperson Bill Begley in a news release.