COVID-19 sparked initiatives to digitalize contact tracing. Many countries are moving quickly to develop and deploy contact tracing apps, facing criticism from privacy advocates due to the risks associated with granting additional surveillance powers in a state of emergency such as this. Apple and Google proposed a framework to use particular types of Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacons called
BLE ATLAS is a project to explore BLE beacons, by visualizing in real-time
At the center is the sensor. Circles appearing in its surroundings represent beacons it received. The distance from the center depicts the relative distance of the emitting device, based on the beacon’s signal strength (expressed in dBm). The size of the circle indicates the size of the transmitted data. Red circles indicate beacons with a reasonably high signal strength, which could have been emitted within close vicinities.
Because of the inability to easily triangulate the physical location of the transmitting devices, the beacons’ radial positions in the visualization are randomized.