Smartbin makers turn off smartphone trackers
Renew CEO Kaveh Memari describes the project as "a pilot with extremely limited, encrypted, anonymous/aggregated data"
Following the news that a small number of London smartbins were collecting anonymized MAC addresses from pedestrians’ smartphones the City of London corporation has asked the firm to stop the scheme.
"Irrespective of what’s technically possible, anything that happens like this on the streets needs to be done carefully, with the backing of an informed public," said the corporation in an official statement.
Kaveh Memari, the CEO of Renew, the company who make the bins, has also released an open letter further explaining the technology.
“The process is very much like a website, you can tell how many hits you have had and how many repeat visitors, but we cannot tell who, or anything personal about any of the visitors on the website. So we couldn’t tell, for example, whether we had seen devices or not as we never gathered any personal details.”
The bins worked by looking for smartphones with an open Wi-Fi connection and using this to estimate the “proximity, speed, duration and manufacturer”. Over the course of a single week the 12 bins included in the trial logged “4,009,676 devices with over 530,000 uniques acquired.”
In their original publication of the scheme, Renew speculated how the information might be sold to advertisers, allowing them to analyse shopping habits of individuals in a given area. The open letter by Memari reiterated that these are “capabilities that could be developed and none of which are workable right now”.
“Future developments will, however, not just depend on technology, but also, most importantly, on people being comfortable with interactive technology,” says Memari. “Come the time we discuss creating the future levels of protection, we can move to an improved service where we can bring better content to people.”
Life & Style blogs
Video shows how to turn your phone into a 3D hologram
Gill Pharaoh: Healthy former nurse, 75, passes away at assisted dying clinic after deciding old age is 'awful'
Free porn websites could be shut down within months, says David Cameron
The difference between a psychopath and a sociopath
National Orgasm Day: Six reasons (plus one bogus one) why they're good for us
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn – or a return to a Labour government
Is Britain really full up? Are migrants taking our jobs? Leading academic answers the most common anti-immigration claims
Calais Migrant Crisis: Deputy Mayor of Calais labels Cameron's use of 'swarm' as 'racist' and 'ignorant'
Jeremy Corbyn's anti-austerity agenda will harm poor, says Labour shadow Chancellor Chris Leslie
While we fixate on Calais, the Home Office is quietly deporting dozens of migrants on 'ghost flights'
Calais crisis: The seven claims made about the migrants - and the reality
- 1 Video shows how to turn your phone into a 3D hologram
- 2 Artist Jamie McCartney: How The Great Wall of Vagina is a stand against 'body fascism'
- 3 Katie Hopkins reveals fear she will die during brain surgery to cure epilepsy
- 4 Dutch King Willem-Alexander declares the end of the welfare state
- 5 Michael B Jordan and Kate Mara handle excruciatingly awkward and offensive interview questions like pros
iJobs Gadgets & Tech
£35000 - £39000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This global technology company ...
£75 - 85k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Technical Director / Digital Director / ...
£20 - 25k: Guru Careers: A Graduate Database Administrator / Junior DBA is nee...