As it turns out, I wasn’t the only one to be wholly disconcerted by the concept of a trash can that is capable of tracking the smartphones of passers-by. Shortly after news of the Renew Orb became known to the general public, particularly the part where they were already in limited use, the City of London put the kibosh on them indefinitely.

Renew has agreed to stop testing their Orbs immediately, after concerns were raised by not just the general public, but also Big Brother Watch (a privacy campaign group). Remember how I said this situation was ripe for someone to be confused as to how their technological invention could be used nefariously? You didn’t have to be a fortune teller to see that one coming. Kaveh Memari, the Chief Executive of Renew, claims the Orbs would only collect extremely limited, encrypted, aggregated and anonymized data, but officials in London weren’t buying it.

So if you were worried about your privacy while walking the streets of London, rest assured that the trash cans, at any rate, will not be tracking you via your smartphone. Which is not to say you aren’t being tracked by other means, but according to the City of London, Orbs would need to be used carefully, with the backing of a fully-informed public. I don’t see that happening.

Source: Ubergizmo

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