Smartphone Monitoring Trashcans Binned

The City of London has apparently decided to bin the whole idea of trashcans that monitored the smartphones of pedestrians.


(Smartphone-monitoring trashcans in London )

Renew, the London-based marketing firm behind the smart trash cans, bills the Wi-Fi tracking as being "like Internet cookies in the real world" (see the promotional video below). In a press release, it boasts of the data-collection prowess of the cans' embedded Renew "ORB" technology, which captures the unique media access control (MAC) address of smartphones that belong to passersby. During a one-week period in June, just 12 cans, or about 10 percent of the company's fleet, tracked more than 4 million devices and allowed company marketers to map the "footfall" of their owners within a 4-minute walking distance to various stores.

Science fiction writers prefer that trashcans be more obedient - especially if they are listening to you.

She spotted it loitering near a pair of fisherman, who stood in hip boots in the gentle surf. She called out. "Trash can!"

The can pivoted on broad rubber treads and rolled toward her voice. It snuffled across the beach, mapping its way with bursts of infrasound….

The can intoned. "Galveston appreciates good citizenship. Would you like to register for a valuable cash prize?"
(Read more about Bruce Sterling's solar-powered talking trash can from Islands in the Net)

Via ArsTechnica and Forbes.

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