Trashy Tracking

Rachel Savage


London’s bombproof garbage bins are so modern they can collect data from passing mobile devices. It seemed a good idea at the time, but on Aug. 12 local authorities ordered supplier Renew to disable the feature.

Renew Pod garbage bin

First installed in the runup to the 2012 Olympics

The bins carry software that London-based Renew says detects smartphones by proximity, speed, manufacturer, and length of use

Each bin costs £30K ($46,500) to install. Their LCD screens show maps and other public info

Renew says it tracked smartphone makes, but hadn’t begun studying shopping habits

“Anything that happens like this on the streets needs to be done carefully, with the backing of an informed public.”

— City of London Corp.


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