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London's Bombproof Garbage Cans Lose Their Trashy Tracking


Each bin costs £30,000 ($46,500) to install. Their LCD screens show maps and other public info. The bins carry software that London-based Renew says detects smartphones by proximity, speed, manufacturer, and length of use. Renew says it tracked smartphone makes, but hadn’t begun studying shopping habits

Photograph by Sean Dempsey/Press Association Images

Each bin costs £30,000 ($46,500) to install. Their LCD screens show maps and other public info. The bins carry software that London-based Renew says detects smartphones by proximity, speed, manufacturer, and length of use. Renew says it tracked smartphone makes, but hadn’t begun studying shopping habits

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.

Savage is a reporter for Bloomberg News in London.

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