herald

Wednesday 16 August 2017

Ban for bins that snoop on your phone data

A rubbish bin equipped with television screens showing public information, near to St Paul's Cathedral in the City of London. Photo: PA/Sean Dempsey
A rubbish bin equipped with television screens showing public information, near to St Paul's Cathedral in the City of London. Photo: PA/Sean Dempsey

A FIRM has stopped using street recycling bins to collect data from people's phones without their knowledge.

Renew London, which operates bins around the UK capital, reportedly fitted 12 with technology which tracks the unique Media Access Control (MAC) address of smartphones as they pass by. The company has stopped collecting the data after it was reported to the UK Information Commissioner's Office amid privacy concerns.

The bins, which also have television screens showing public information, are sited mainly in London. But now the company has said it is no longer conducting trials. In a statement, chief executive Kaveh Memari, said during initial trials a "limited number" of pods had been testing and collecting "anonymised and aggregated" MAC addresses and sending a report every three minutes on the footfall data.

The move came after it was urged by the City of London Corporation to stop collecting data immediately.

hnews@herald.ie

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