Loveland's Independent News Source
Loveland, December 11, 2017

Loveland's City Council approved a new 'public works' program last Tuesday to
place receivers around the City of Loveland to collect MAC (Media Access
Control) unique identifiers emitted from private cell phones via bluetooth from
an unaware public.  

The devices can not only track a person's travel throughout the city but also
determine your precise speed, who might be travelling with you depending on
whether they are carrying a mobile device and ultimately display your
movements on a map throughout the city over a period of years once enough
data is collected and archived.

Presented on the consent agenda at as approval of a federal grant, Councilman
Dave Clark said he failed to call staff about the item so pulled it from the
consent agenda to ask questions during last Tuesday's council meeting.

Jeff Bailey, City of Loveland Interim Director of Public Works, provided false
information to the council and public during his short presentation regarding
the technology.   Bailey described the system as
Traffic-Adaptive Control  
product used for traffic mitigation.  The federal grant was facilitated through
MPO (North Front Range Metropolitan Planning Organization) providing
the City of Loveland $380,000 to acquire and install the receivers at traffic
intersections throughout the city.  Bailey described the funds as "
$380,000 free to the city
" because the usual matching funds requirement was
not included.

Councilman Dave Clark responded,
"I am not sure to be thankful or worried."  
Bailey responded, "It is an emerging technology."  

Bailey Misleads Council and Public

While Loveland's City Council sat quietly, declining to ask any questions despite
Mayor Jacki Marsh's invitation, with the exception of Clark, a man in the
audience came to the microphone asking a series of probing questions.  It was
the assurances Bailey provided that man and the rest of the audience that were

For example, the audience member asked why the need to track people instead
of just their vehicles if the intent is to mitigate traffic congestion by learning the
routes various commuters are using through the city.  In his response, Bailey
"If we were to use cameras to pick-up say license plate data than we
are getting into issues of privacy."

On the contrary, license plates only indicate who is the registered owner of the
vehicle while tracking the unique identifier of each mobile device in the vehicle
provides information regarding who is in the vehicle and their likely identity.  
Bailey further explained,
"There is no tracking, there is no way of knowing
who owns which bluetooth signal, because the computer itself assigns a
number to it so its just a random number generated."  
Bailey also corrected
the man explaining the telephone communication signal is not what is being
tracked only the bluetooth; presumably to protect the individual's privacy.

For clarification, mobile phone companies can change subscriber identifiers
and often do over a period of time so any one signal doesn't necessarily
identify the user.  The MAC, however, is different.  Each mobile device is
provided a unique MAC which remains with the device for the life of the device
since it is tied into the physical embedded chipset.   Therefore, the most reliable
way for intelligence agencies or law enforcement to connect an individual to a
pattern of activity over time is through their MAC not the communication signal
of their mobile devices.  

Even if the vendor of the "
Traffic-Adaptive Control" device assigns its own
unique number for each mobile device, the police can easily determine the
identity of anyone's phone once they have custody of it by passing it by a
receiver thus revealing a suspect's local travel history.  Bailey also indicated
earlier in his presentation that the computer for the receiver is housed
alongside cameras and other detection equipment.  

After repeatedly assuring the audience the technology is for tracking cars not
people, Bailey was asked by the same man,
"What if three iphones in that car
what happens,
"  to which Bailey replied, "It will only pick-up one."   

Of course, this is false as the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the
Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) have been known to use identical devices to
track multiple suspects traveling in a single vehicle.  Each mobile device is
transmitting while the passive receiver is receiving those signals.  While the
city's computer software may cancel out near signals for simplicity of traffic
counting, it is certainly misleading to indicate the technology can only pick-up
one signal in each vehicle.  It picks-up all the signals and depending on how it is
programed can certainly determine the characteristics of which signal is
analyzed and archived.  
See article regarding DEA and DHS use of the same

The city's longer-term objective is to use the dispersed computers at various
light signals to adjust traffic signal timing based on the predictive analysis of
anticipated arrivals at each intersection.  In other words, a daily commuter who
regularly follows the same route will contribute to the predicted traffic flow
thus light timing long before arriving at the intersection based only on previous
patterns by the same driver.

Loveland's City Council voted unanimously 9-0 to approve the appropriation of
the grant thus initiating the citizen monitoring program.  
City To Begin Tracking You
Via Your Mobile Phone

reprinted from Federal Trade Commission...

Privacy Considerations
in Retail Tracking

April 2015

Last week, the FTC announced a proposed
settlement with Nomi Technologies, a retail
tracking firm that monitors consumers’
movements through stores, for failing to adhere
to their opt-out promises.

Nomi's Listen Service tracks consumers by
monitoring the location of their devices as they
move about. The approach does not identify an
individual by name but instead monitors unique
wireless identifiers emitted by the smartphones,
wearables, and other wireless accessories that
consumers carry.

The obscure nature of retail tracking technology
has been somewhat controversial. On a number
of occasions, retailers such as Nordstrom and
Philz Coffee and cities, such as the City of
London, have discontinued its use once their
consumers were made aware of the practice and
expressed privacy concerns.

For context of consumer concern over this
practice, a recent OpinionLab survey of 1,000
consumers indicated that, "8 out of 10 shoppers
do not want stores to track their movements via
smartphone" and "nearly half (43%) of shoppers
are less likely to shop at a favorite retailer if the
brand implements a tracking program."

The privacy issues are further exacerbated by
the fact that most consumers are not aware that
their device information may be captured as
they walk by a store or visit an airport.

In light of the Commission’s proposed settlement
with Nomi and the ongoing public debate, I
thought it would be worthwhile to describe how
different retail tracking technologies work, and in
my opinion, the specific privacy trade-offs of
each approach. My predecessor, Latanya
Sweeney, has also blogged about this topic and
the FTC held a seminar last spring, where I
presented an overview on how some of this
technology works.


Retail tracking generally works by monitoring
individual's movements in or near locations of
interest. The specific mechanisms can vary but
often involve recording signals emanated by the
individual or their devices as they move about.

read entire article on FTC.GOV website
Council Agenda Item 2.10

The project includes installation
of permanent traffic count equipment,
travel time monitoring equipment
, adaptive
signal software, a signal controller, and
 The equipment will provide data
necessary to improve efficiency and better
accommodate traffic growth on the roadway
network.  This project is consistent with objectives
outlined in the City’s Intelligent Transportation
System (ITS) Plan.