Tracking is no longer just on the rails for Boston's MBTA

The advertising contractor for metropolitan Boston’s subway rail system is launching a program to track riders with smart beacon technology. The company emphasizes that it is voluntary and anonymous, but privacy experts are not convinced

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Big Conductor could be watching you … but only if you want him (or her) to.

That, of course, is not the way a press release a couple of weeks ago put it, announcing the launch of a pilot program by private contractor Intersection to track riders’ who are using the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) system in 10 of its stations in Boston and Cambridge.

The pitch from Intersection, an “urban experience” company created through a merger of media company Titan and technology firm Control Group, is that the program’s goals are to improve the rider experience and to help companies that advertise with the MBTA “increase engagement and interaction with commuters” who are near to their stores – targeted ads, in other words.

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