Published : 01-01-2015 by : Pawan Janorkar

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Bluejacking is the sending of unsolicited messages over Bluetooth to Bluetooth-enabled devices such as mobile phones, PDAs or laptop computers, sending a vCard which typically contains a message in the name field (i.e. for bluedating or bluechat) to another Bluetooth enabled device via the OBEX protocol. Bluetooth has a very limited range; usually around 10 meters on mobile phones, but laptops can reach up to 100 meters with powerful transmitters.

Bluejacking allows phone users to send business cards anonymously using Bluetooth wireless technology. Bluejacking does not involve the removal or alteration of any data from the device. Bluejackers often look for the receiving phone to ping or the user to react. In order to carry out a bluejacking, the sending and receiving devices must be within 10 meters of one another. Phone owners who receive bluejack messages should refuse to add the contacts to their address book. Devices that are set in non-discoverable mode are not susceptible to bluejacking.

Mobile phones have been adopted as an everyday technology, and they are ubiquitous in social situations as users carry them around as they move through different physical locations throughout the day. As a communicative device, the mobile phone has been gradually taken up in ways that move beyond merely providing a channel for mediated conversation. One such appropriation is bluejacking, the practice of sending short, unsolicited messages via vCard functionality to other Bluetooth-enabled phones. To choose the recipients of bluejacks, senders complete a scan using their mobile phones to search for the available Bluetooth-enabled devices in the immediate area. A bluejacker picks one of the available devices, composes a message within a body of the phone’s contact interface, sends the message to the recipient, and remains in the vicinity to observe any reactions expressed by the recipient.

The messages tend to be anonymous since the recipient has no idea who has sent the bluejack, and the recipient has no information about the bluejacker, except for the name and model of the bluejacker’s mobile phone. Because of Bluetooth’s short-range networking capabilities, bluejacking can only occur between actors who are within 10 meters of each other, which makes this activity highly location-dependent. Contrary to what the name suggests, the bluejack recipient’s phone is not hijacked; that is, the phone is at no time under the control of the bluejacker.

We conceptualize bluejacking as a violation of possessional territory. Inspired by Goffman, we propose that the mobile phone is a possessional territory as a result of the intimacy and continued contact between mobile phone users and their phones. A possessional territory, in our usage, is an object that engenders attachment and defense by those who perceive possession and can be referred to as a “personal effect.” Possessional territories function “egocentrically”; that is, they move around with their owners who maintain and exert regulatory control, such as the definition of settings. Since we characterize the mobile phone as a possessional territory, we adapt the category of violation, defined as a temporary incursion where gaining control is not necessarily the goal as a likely and appropriate category of infringement in this context.

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