Science Fiction Dictionary
A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z

 

Trashcan Surveillance - Halt! Who Throws There?

Garbage cans all over England are under surveillance tonight. And not by sleepy, fallible humans, either. At least 500,000 "wheelie bins" now use technology worthy of James Bond's fabled electronics genius "Q" (or at least a competent villain from SPECTRE).

Electronic devices (passive RFID tags) about the size of a one-pence piece are screwed into a hole in the lip of the bin. As the bin is hoisted up for emptying, an RFID reader on the refuse truck interrogates the chip, which divulges a serial number identifying the property owner. The weight of the bin is recorded by the truck's sensors and is registered in a database entry along with the serial number. The database entries for the day are downloaded at the dump (now, that's a data dump!) and stored in a vast central databank of property owner behavior.

Although this is frankly a story that is difficult to take seriously, please note the following.

First, any bureauocracy that believes it would be useful to have a vast database of the precise weight of every household garbage bin (every week!) in England is either stupid, dangerous or both, and should be stopped. Who knows what other information will be collected?

You should remember that many of the articles you buy (and sooner or later throw away) are now equipped with passive RFID tags that detail the item's brand name and product name. If it's possible to scan the tag on the trash can with an ID, it's possible to use similar equipment to quickly scan your can (TM Technovelgy.com) to uncover your purchasing habits.

Contactless credit cards using tiny RFID chips are now being widely tested for use as credit cards and other applications. You can cut up the number portion of a credit card to discourage thieves when you toss it in the trash. But what if you don't cut the tiny chip in the credit card? All of the old information in the card is available (encrypted, but still available).

This might be a good time to insist on zombie RFID tags on consumer products; they can be turned off when you take them from the store. See Zombie RFID Tags Arise To Face Privacy Advocates for more information.

If only they can combine the talking trash cans of Berlin with these spy cans - they'll just blab everything to the garbageman.

Now that you're feeling slightly paranoid about your garbage can, take a look at these surveillance technologies:

Read more about wheelie bin spys.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 8/30/2006)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 1 )

Index of related articles:

What is RFID?
How RFID Works
How is RFID used inside a living body?
What can RFID be used for?
Is RFID Technology Secure and Private?
Are There Concerns About How RFID Will Be Used? (Update)
Next-Generation Uses of RFID?
What Are Zombie RFID Tags?
Problems With RFID
RFID Information Technology Articles
Advantages of RFID Versus Barcodes
RFID Glossary
Contactless Credit Card Advantages
Contactless Credit Card Disadvantages

Related News Stories - (" Surveillance ")

Small Town Wants 60 License Plate Readers
'the registration number which the traffic control automatically photographed as she left the controlway...' - Robert Heinlein, 1940.

Pixy Flying Selfie Drone From Snap
'It hovered behind him like a large tame bee.' - Karen Traviss, 2004.

Answer To Teacher Spying And Student Surveillance? ParanoidLinux!
'ParanoidLinux is an operating system that assumes that its operator is under assault from the government...' - Cory Doctorow, 2008.

Facebook Unexpectedly Turns Away From Sfnal Face Recognition
'... the imprint of her image on the telephoto cell.' Schachner and Zagat, 1931.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

Science Fiction Timeline
1600-1899
1900-1939
1940's   1950's
1960's   1970's
1980's   1990's
2000's   2010's

Current News

NAVER Labs Haptic Device 2.0 Robot vs. IKEA
'... the two pairs of waldoes in the screen followed in exact, simultaneous parallelism.'

Spaceships Should Last So Long
'THE SPACE VESSEL was traveling swiftly… For over five thousand years they had Voyaged on and on.’

Shine On, Portable Wind Turbine
'Sometimes a man has a windmill on his roof...'

Amazing Indoor Robotic Drones Mimic Dolphins and Whales
'They circled the vast audiences, dancing, twittering, chirping...'

Space Station Shutters
'The sun-quilt was a patchwork of colors and materials on the inward side, but silvered on the outward side...'

Tiny Mining - Extract Precious Industrial Minerals From Your Own Body
'Jim, I saw them reduce four of my doctors and nurses into those little cubes!'

MIT Proposes Space Bubbles To Combat Climate Change, Misses The Point Of Space Bubbles
'Fats Jordan was hanging in the center of the Big Glass Balloon, hugging his guitar to his massive black belly above his purple shorts..'

Tianjin Solar Vehicle From Hanergy (2022) Looking Like Heinlein's (1940)
'When confronted by hills, or rough terrain, it did not stop, but simply slowed until the task demanded equaled its steady power output.'

Study Reveals Effect Of Space Travel On The Brain
'... the brain is no longer subjected to the accustomed pull, and it expands slightly in all directions.'

Sky Cruise Nuclear Powered Flying Hotel Concept
'... the huge air-freighter Jupiter.'

The Mojo Smart Contact Lens Experience
'... the lens displays would be useless without a wearable computer to do the graphics.'

Small Town Wants 60 License Plate Readers
'the registration number which the traffic control automatically photographed as she left the controlway...'

Lightyear 0 World's First Production-Ready Solar Car
'It could maintain a steady six miles per hour...'

AI Robots Excel At Trash Sorting And Recycling
'Then they press one of these here thirteen buttons...'

Could Increased Space Rocketry Damage The Ozone Layer?
'...without burning a single hydrocarbon molecule to injure the diseased atmosphere any further.'

Dyson's Secret Household Robots
'...work a human being does around a house.'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.