London’s Trash Cans Are Now Tracking You With Your Smartphone
Big brother has found a new way to monitor your every move and he’s using the garbage to do it. So a few years ago LCD-equipped trash bins began popping up around London as a way of broadcasting ads. Gizmodo has reported that the company that owns the trash cans Renew, is partnering with a new technology called Presence Orb that will take information off passerby’s smartphones. Behold, a new chapter in invasion of privacy is born!
So how do these tech spying trashcans work exactly? An analytics tool embedded in the trash bins tracks people via whatever WiFi device they happen to be carrying. The system is so advanced that it will be able to track everything from how fast a person is walking to what model phone they’re using. From here it’s just a matter of tweaking the trashcans to advertise whatever product or service the technology deems most appealing to the consumer. If the trashcan detects shopping apps on your phone that indicate you frequent a particular store, it might advertise a sale at a nearby competing store. The technology will also allow brands to get a more in-depth look about the daily routines of customers. Target may soon know where you stop for your morning bagel or take your dry cleaning, hope you’re okay with that.
By now you’re probably bugging out and telling yourself that this can’t possibly be legal, right? Oh but it is, at least for the most part. Unlike the US, European laws require websites to let users know when they’ve just offloaded digital information. Renew claims that the technology doesn’t allow them to access the user’s name or address—only the device’s unique ID number.
Whether you actually trust this new technology or are already breaking out your tin foil hat and smashing every computer you own, Minority Report just became a little less fictional.