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 |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 1 )
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
Contactless Credit Card Advantages
Contactless Credit Card Disadvantages
Related News Stories -
Amazon One Is Frank Herbert's Palm Lock
'A palm lock must be keyed to one individual's hand shape and palm lines.' - Frank Herbert, 1965.
Who Needs Dogs? Trained Bees Detect Explosives
'The directing neurological tissue that forms the basis of the swibble is alive...' - Philip K Dick, 1955.
Government In-Home Surveillance - Yes! Say Third Of Under-30 Adults
'The TV screen flicked to show a kitchen.' - Pournelle and Niven, 1981.
New Train Station Offers Minority Report-Style Signs
A whole new world awaits you, John Anderton!
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.
Ulm Sleep Pods For The Homeless
'The lid lifted and she crawled inside...'
Prophetic Offers Lucid Dreaming Halo With Morpheus-1 AI
''Leads trail away from insertion points on her face and wrist... to a lucid dreamer...'
More Like A Tumblebug Than A Motorcycle
'It is about the size and shape of a kitchen stool, gyro-stabilized on a single wheel...'
Tesla Camera-Only Vision Predicted In 1930's SF
'By its means, the machine can see.'
First Ever Proof Of Water On Asteroids
'Yes, strangely enough there was still sufficient water beneath the surface of Vesta.'
Aptera Solar EV More Stylish Than Heinlein Steel Tortoise
'When confronted by hills, or rough terrain, it did not stop, but simply slowed until the task demanded equaled its steady power output.'
Gigantic Space Sunshade Would Fight Global Warming
'...the light of the sun had been polarized by two crossed fields so that no radiation could pass.'
Untethered Spacewalk's 50th Anniversary
'But that space walk of mine wasn't so very amazing.'
ESA Designs Huge Inflatable Moonbase
'It was like being inside a balloon; indeed, that was exactly where he was.'
AlphaGarden Robot Cares For Gardens Better Than Humans
'...a simple clock-set servok with pipe and hose arms.'
Let's Make Slaver Sunflowers! Engineering Plants To Reflect Light
'The mirror-blossom was a terrible weapon.'
TeslaBot Uber Driver (2024) And The Automatic Motorist (1911)
'Robots have worse problems than anybody'
DiffuseBot Uses Generative AI To Invent New Soft Robots
'It embodies several small-scale multiple stampers, apparently for dealing with sheet metal.'
Philips Smart Palm Recognition Smart Deadbolt
'A palm lock must be keyed to one individual's hand shape...'
BMind Smart Mirror from Baracoda
Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who has the greatest wellness of all?
Ballie Your AI Robot Companion From Samsung
Projects your content anywhere you like.
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories