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Smart Trash Can Track Smartphones... But Why?

Usually, I’m not one to go in for the Big Brother conspiracy theories when it comes to things like security cameras in public areas that can track activity. Primarily because the only times I have ever been worried about such things are the times I’ve been somewhere I shouldn’t have been doing something I shouldn’t be doing. But with technological advances in security come some things that should concern all of us. This is one of those things.

There is a startup company in the UK called Renew, which has developed these Renew Orbs. Their entire purpose is to scan passers-by and determine how close they are to the trash can (where the Orb lives), how fast they’re walking… and what kind of smartphone they’re carrying. The purported purpose is to tailor real-world stores in the same manner as Google ads are targeted: if a majority of people frequenting a certain place use an iPhone, for instance, then it might be a good place for an Apple store.

Quite frankly, this scares the heck out of me. Sure, right now all it can do is determine how fast you’re walking and what type of phone you’re carrying, but how long do you suppose it’ll be before someone manages to hack the Orb? From there, it’s not a great leap to assume they will then be able to access the information on your phone or whatever other internet-enabled device you happen to be carrying. All of a sudden those silly bags and cases that block all signal to your phone don’t look quite so silly to me.

You know how there is always a scientist somewhere who is bewildered when his/her discovery is used to make something heinous like a bomb when all they intended was to develop a new form of power? Yeah, this whole thing pretty much screams for that to happen, doesn’t it? Especially with the recent revelation about the PRISM surveillance system. Walk with your phone at your own risk, I guess.

Source: Ubergizmo

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