The Bluetooth Special Interest Group has adopted a new version (4.2) of the Bluetooth core specification in an attempt to improve security by preventing Bluetooth beacons from pairing with smartphones without the user's permission.
New specifications are also said to increase the speed and reliability of Bluetooth data transfers and reduce battery consumption, NFC World reported. But this change may be a blow to some retailers who want to use beacons that send notifications to smartphones without the user actually having to give permission to receive the notification. But the changes are necessary for those consumers who want better security, the SIG said.
"The new privacy features put control back into the hands of the consumer by making it difficult for eavesdroppers to track a device through its Bluetooth connection without permission. For example, when shopping in a retail store with beacons, unless you’ve enabled permission for the beacon to engage with your device, you can’t be tracked," the SIG said.
The new features also present more opportunities in the bluetooth market for different kinds of user experiences and devices. It also creates a new standard for security for smart devices.
“Bluetooth 4.2 opens up new opportunities for developers, OEMs and the industry to build a better user experience for consumers while creating use cases never before imagined,” the SIG said. “Bluetooth 4.2 introduces industry-leading privacy settings that lowers power consumption and builds upon the government-grade security features of the Bluetooth specification.