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bluejacking

noun [uncountable]

the practice of sending anonymous text messages to another person's mobile phone by using the Bluetooth™ networking system

bluejacker

noun [countable]

bluejack

verb [intransitive/transitive]

'Welcome to Bluejackers – dedicated to the latest fun (and completely drug free) craze of "BlueJacking" – sending anonymous messages to other Bluetooth devices within 30 feet of you – this usually means Mobile Telephones (Cellular Phones) but also includes PDAs with Bluetooth.'

bluejackers.co.uk 2003

'She said the "priceless" expression on the face of her first victim as he tried to work out what was going on has turned her into a regular bluejacker. … To be bluejacked you must make sure your phone can be discovered by other Bluetooth devices.'

BBC News 4th November 2003

Initially confined to mobile phone buffs, the practice of bluejacking is fast becoming a popular craze.

generally, Bluejackers operate in crowded public places such as stations, airports and shopping centres

Bluetooth™ is a wireless radio communication system originally specified by the company Ericsson and later developed by a consortium including Sony, IBM and Nokia. Bluetooth™ enables electronic devices to communicate with each other over short distances without the need for connecting cables, one of its main applications being in the development of a wireless, hands-free function for mobile phones. Originally only available on more expensive mobile phones, Bluetooth™ is rapidly becoming a standard feature on most UK handsets, providing the platform for more widespread bluejacking.

Generally, Bluejackers operate in crowded public places such as stations, airports and shopping centres – anywhere where there are likely to be a number of other mobile phone users – sending anonymous text messages and enjoying the startled expressions of the recipients. The fact that this kind of text messaging is free has doubtless contributed to its popularity, there now being several websites dedicated to the craze including bluejackq.com. The practice is more common in Britain than in the United States, since the majority of phones sold in America are not yet equipped with Bluetooth™.

Background – bluejacking

The term bluejacking was allegedly coined by a user of esato.com calling himself 'ajack', who sent various contributions to the site's message board telling of how he had 'discovered' this one day when trying to deflect his boredom as he stood in a queue at the bank. The craze has popularised a derived noun bluejacker and a verb bluejack, which is often used in passive form, e.g. Are you being bluejacked?.

The wireless networking system Bluetooth™ was named after the 10th-century Danish King Harald Blåtand (the translation of Blåtand is blue tooth), who unified Denmark and Norway.

by Kerry Maxwell, author of Brave New Words

This article was first published on 31st January 2004.

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