Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Smart Trash Cans

A high-tech trash can from a UK company  by the name of Renew does more than collecting your garbage. These Renew Pods, as they are called installed around certain parts of London  were initially designed to serve up video advertisements thanks to large displays on either side. A dozen units have since been fitted with what the company is calling Renew ORB, a device that uses Wi-Fi technology to quietly find out and collect information from nearby smartphones.

Considering there are at least 100 of these recycling bins scattered across the city, there’s a heap of data being searched without consent. Specifically, the refreshed cans are able to capture the proximity of a smartphone to the ORB, how fast it is traveling (how fast you are walking) and how long it is within range. Also, Renew can even determine the manufacturer of your mobile device from its MAC address. Why would a trash can spy on a passerby??

A statement on Renew’s website said they’re collecting your information for advertising purposes. They suggests the data will be sold to advertisers in an effort to help them better target their campaigns – campaigns that would be run via video on the Renew Pods. Users can “opt out” of being tracked by disabling Wi-Fi or filling out a form online. Those are both a bit of a hassle, especially when you consider that 80 percent of people in London leave Wi-Fi enabled on their mobile devices.





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