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?
RFID Information Technology Articles
Problems With RFID
Advantages of RFID Versus Barcodes
RFID Glossary
Contactless Credit Card Advantages
Contactless Credit Card Disadvantages

Related News Stories - (" Surveillance ")

Adversarial Patches Trick Computer Vision
'The surveillance cameras can all see it, but then they forget they’ve seen it.' - William Gibson, 2010.

FLIR Black Hornet 3 Palm-sized Drone
These drones can provide situational awareness beyond visual line-of-sight capability.

Ionocraft Drone Powered By Electrohydrodynamic Thrust
'He saw one hiss by him as he rounded the corner, trailing a short whip antenna...' - Neal Stephenson, 1995.

UK Police AI To Stop Criminals Before They Strike
'... the computing mechanisms that studied and restructured the incoming material.' - Philip K. Dick, 1956.

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Skin Electronics Can Show Electrocardiogram
'... the young men in the streets who applied polyimde OLED body film to their bared shoulders.'

Chinese Fern Helps Remediate Arsenic Soil
'Bioengeering had put out a spec report on the long crawly things five months back.'

Skai Air Taxi Costs The Same As Uber
'The air-taxi found its way past and around other ground-cars...'

Neurodevices For Consumers? Neuroethicists (And Philip K Dick) Say 'Caveat Emptor'
'They tried to use it today and it wouldn't work. No colors and no ceph patterns, neither one...'

NASA 3D Printed Habitat Challenge Won By AI SpaceFactory
3D printing - on Mars!

The Future Of Elon Musk's Neuralink
'Cerebral Electromagnetic Emmission Amplification and Relay System — call it artificial telepathy, if you like.'

Researchers Make You Say Anything in Videos
'[It] caused his televised image... to mouth the vowels and consonants beautifully.'

Jeff Bezos Tries Waldoes (Robotic Hands)
'Waldo put his arms into the primary pair before him...'

Asimov and Musk - Boring Company Tunnel vs. Street Race
'There was almost no sound, just a steady velvety whirr as the taxi sped along.'

Project Dylan - Amazon's Voice-Activated Wearable That Recognizes Human Emotions
Life imitates anime art.

Tesla Diagnoses Itself, Sends Part Request
'Tentacles emerged from the side of the machine and felt puzzledly at the damaged area.'

Lilium Electric Air Taxi Prototype
'The air-taxi found its way past and around other ground-cars...'

Swedes Premiere T-Pod Driverless Electric Truck
'the trucks gulped packages and scurried like beetles...'

HEL TVD Laser System To Be Built By Dynetics Lockheed Martin
'Forthwith flashes of actual flame, a bright glare leaping from one to another, sprang from the scattered group of men.'

Alcarelle Synthetic Alcohol Like Star Trek Synthehol
Bottoms up!

Datagrid Model Generation Perfect For Eternal Cities Of Science Fiction
'... there was enough flexibility to allow for wide variation.

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.