Renew announced it would be making its smart trash cans, known as “Renew Orbs” available in a number of locations around London, which can be used as a way to track the devices people use as well as the rate at which they’re traveling past the trash cans. It looks like Renew will have to go back to the ole’ drawing board as the City of London has asked them to stop using smart trash cans in order to track those who pass by.
Renew has complied with the City of London’s request and has since “stopped all trials in the meantime.” The reason why London officials asked Renew to stop their program from continuing is due to concerns raised by privacy campaign group Big Brother Watch after details of the smart trash cans were made public.
Chief executive Kaveh Memari claims the Renew Orbs would only record “extremely limited, encrypted, aggregated and anonymized data” in order to monitor local footfall. Additional capabilities could be developed for the Renew Orbs, but any changes would be made aware to the public. A spokesperson for the City of London Corporation said regardless of what’s technically possible with the Renew Orbs, “anything that happens like this on the streets needs to be done carefully, with the backing of an informed public.”
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