UK Rubbish Bins Stopped SpyingThe City of London Corporation has finally ordered that rubbish bins stop spying on people. Renew Company, a provider of recycling bins in the capital of the United Kingdom, was reported to use its bins in order to monitor the mobile phones of passers-by for targeted advertising purposes. Local media reports confirmed that after concerns over privacy appeared, the City of London asked the company to halt the trial and has referred the case to the Information Commissioner’s Office.
As a result, Renew chief executive Kaveh Memari has stopped the trials until the ICO hands down its decision. Memari confirmed that during the initial trials a limited number of pods had been testing, which collected anonymized and aggregated MAC addresses from the street and sent reports every 3 minutes over total footfall information from the sites. Now these experiments are stopped. Memari admitted that a lot of what had been extrapolated is capabilities which they could develop and none of them are workable at the moment. As such, the company no longer continues to count devices.
Actually, some of the extrapolation was mainly because of Renew’s own marketing content on the trail – for instance, it said that the test measured “variables in market share between mobile handheld providers within the City’s Square Mile”, at the same time promising to measure the speed and movement of individual devices.
Renew also assured that it could help shop and bar owners to map the total footfall percentage within a few minutes walking distance from the shop. The company has now promised to consult on future developments, saying that it can discuss creating the future levels of protection and move to an improved service able to deliver better content to people.
Renew announced that its firm intention is to discuss progressions publicly at first, and the company pledged to collaborate with such privacy outfits as the Electronic Frontier Foundation. In the meantime, Renew said it’s still committed to leading the charge on the implementation of the above mentioned technology.