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iBeacons and location tracking

Our location system was originally developed by two final year UoB computing students in collaboration with the Students' Union although significant enhancements have since been made by IT Services. The following outlines our privacy policy and agreed terms of use which was approved by the University of Bradford Students' Union on 05/04/2016.

The About UoB app uses location information detected by your device, combined with data from other IT systems, to provide content and services that are personalised to you at the relevant time and place. For this service to work you must have Bluetooth turned on. The first time you launch the app, and periodically thereafter, you will be asked to allow access to your location information. If you decline, or have Bluetooth turned off, your location cannot be used by the app. You can disable and enable location based services for installed apps via your operating system’s settings screen (available on iOS and soon on new versions of Android). 

All location based notifications from our service contain a link to opt out of receiving this type of notification (i.e. if you opt out of food promotions you would stop getting them but still receive other notification types). In future you will also be able to opt out (or back in) via the Preferences tile in the About UoB app.

Location service privacy

The University of Bradford takes your privacy seriously and we believe in being transparent about the data we collect and how it is processed.

The location service was developed by students from the Faculty of Engineering and Informatics in collaboration with the University’s IT Services department, the Students’ Union and the University’s Marketing and Communications department.

All user data is stored in an encrypted format. The University does not use location information to track attendance or otherwise monitor students. Your location information is only used to deliver and tailor content within the app for your personal usage. At any time, the app only knows your current position and direction of travel; we do not keep a history. The service has been independently audited by the Students’ Union in order to confirm that your privacy and security is respected. The University does not process your location for its own purposes, with the exception of the following:

  1. In the event of a building evacuation (e.g. a fire alarm), relevant staff will be able to check to see if the service thinks there is anyone left in the building.
  2. If you use a function which you have deliberately activated and have chosen to share your location with us (e.g. we are currently developing a ‘call assistance / security to my location’ function).
  3. Anonymised statistics that can’t identify individuals (e.g. ‘heat maps’ showing how busy parts of the campus are). 

Typical usage example

The app detects that you are passing the library and notifies our service, which checks your library record. If you have a book that’s due back or a reserved book that’s awaiting collection, you are automatically sent an app notification to remind you.

How it works

In our service we have divided the University campus into regions. A region can range from a single room to a whole building floor.

In each region we have placed a Bluetooth beacon (commonly called an iBeacon), which broadcasts two IDs: one identifying that it is for the About UoB app; the other identifying the region. If you have Bluetooth enabled on your device, it will automatically check for a range of different Bluetooth broadcasts, including these beacons.

When you come into range of one of our beacons, your device triggers the About UoB app in the background. The app then contacts our service with your username and the beacon’s ID and when our service receives your details, it carries out any actions (e.g. checks your library record) and sends you an app notification, if needed.

General About UoB app user privacy and related policies

The About UoB app provides access to a number of systems and services external to the native mobile app. As a result the following policies are relevant to your usage and our administration of the system: