Smartphone bins, banned

13 August 2013

smartphone bin Tracking service, Renew London, had fitted their devices into 12 bins to collect footfall data by tracking signals from people wandering past with their phones. These smartbins are around the City of London and obtain a unique identification number (or a MAC address if you're into that sort of thin) for anything nearby that has WiFi switched on.

With the information, advertisers can then send out targeted commercials on the bins.

However, people weren't keen on this and privacy campaigners - Big Brother Watch - raised concerns to the City of London Corporation and asked them to put an end to these bins. Despite the strict cookie laws, tracking phones is still a legal grey area in the UK and many think that it is an invasion of privacy.

As such, they've been binned off.

Renew’s chief executive Kaveh Memari said the company had "stopped all trials in the meantime" and added that the devices had only recorded "extremely limited, encrypted, aggregated and anonymised data" and that the bins were just "glorified people-counters in the street."

TOPICS:   Mobile   Privacy


  • Jerry
    I work arount there and I hate these bins, they are extremely ugly, and especially designed to have the maximum size of advertising space (2 large screens) but just a smal slot for recycling waste / and then even usually only for newspapers. They just want to sell advertising space and hope they never need to empty these bins.
  • Dick
    Do they also plan to show those little cards that you find in telephone boxes if you don't mind the smell of piss, you know, the ones with ladies that help you out if you are in need.

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