The Fourth of July festivities are almost here, and since it falls during the workweek this year, many people might be looking to maximize their fun without a lot of hassle.

Thank goodness two engineers at Hacker House have come up with a cooler that not only rolls on sturdy wheels, but it automatically follows you. That leaves your hands free to carry the pool float and the umbrella while the cooler rolls along behind you like a faithful pet.

How does this bizarre witchcraft work? The cooler is tuned into your phone’s Bluetooth, meaning if your phone goes that way, the cooler will track the signal and follow. If you’re comfy in your pool lounger and don’t want to get up, you can even send the cooler to your friend on the other side of the pool by using that person’s coordinates.

Sounds pretty nifty, but it doesn’t take into account a growing problem with our technology: if the cooler can track your Bluetooth signal, who else can? And what would they do with that information?

Compared to GPS, which could theoretically track you anywhere in the world via satellite technology, the Bluetooth in your phone or other mobile device is relatively short distanced. But the growing number of devices we’re adding to our daily lives that come with this functionality—things like Bluetooth-enabled vehicles, luggage, appliances, even the latest kids’ craze, fidget spinners that for some reason sync to your phone—means we’re living in a bubble that constantly transmits our location to anyone who really wants to find us.

That might sound like the premise of the next Hollywood cyberthriller, but there’s a far more mundane consideration: all that connectivity also means working our devices’ batteries to death, literally. If you don’t need your luggage to ping your phone that it’s about to come down the conveyor belt at the airport, or if you don’t really need your summer refreshments to tag along behind you on their own, consider the effect those types of conveniences could be having on the gadgets that end up in our landfills.

Technology is great, and inventors have worked for hundreds of years on innovations that are designed to make our lives easier, safer, and just more fun. But it’s all too easy to fall into the trap of adopting the latest technology without considering the ramifications to your privacy. Don’t do the dirty work for scammers and hackers; keep yourself safe while enjoying the fireworks this holiday.


Contact the ITRC for toll-free, no-cost assistance at (888) 400-5530. For on-the-go assistance, check out the free ID Theft Help App from ITRC.