August 12, 2013
In an astounding testament to the depth of our surveillance society, a new line of ‘spy trashcans’ have been rolled out that further the international agenda to track and collect all of your personal data at every turn.
In the past we’ve seen politicians revealing that  various electronics like your television and computer can spy on you at any time  using special built-in hardware, but now even the most basic items are being turned into tools of the surveillance state. In fact, they don’t even have to be electronic in the first place.
And such is the case with the new ‘spy trashcans’, rolling out just recently into the streets of London for beta testing.
Utilizing Wi-Fi technology within the infrastructure of the now tech-equipped trashcans, new ‘Renew Pods’ spy trashcans have been placed  throughout the financial district of London. The trash cans actually go ahead and utilize their internet connectivity to collect information from your smartphones without your permission (or any form of warning).
While the true data the spy cans are collecting may be completely withheld thanks to various relationships with spy agencies like GCHQ  and the NSA, the ‘Renew’ company behind the spy cans says that the Renew Pods track and collect a medley of information.
This includes information that is actually, under law, considered personal data that requires permission to collect. Specifically, it includes your phone’s unique Media Access Control (MAC) address, which these Renew Pods collect without even the slightest warning. But that’s along with collecting other characteristics that are used to sell to advertisers in order to better ‘target’ you with advertising in the area.
From your phone’s unique identification address to its manufacturer, model, and even speed, these spy cans know more about your phone than you do — all without asking. Something that is uniquely against the law and actually ended with Google facing legal issues  when rolling out Street View due to the fact that it was sharing the personal details of random citizens. According to a report from tech website GigaOM :
“If you’re wondering just how legal all this is, then you’re not alone. It turns out that recording your precise location as well as your phone’s Media Access Control (MAC) address constitutes the gathering of personal data. In the UK, that means asking permission — which the trash cans aren’t doing.”
In other words, the Renew company behind the spy cans simply doesn’t care. And we could see these spy cans rolling out in the United States (namely New York City, as the company is trying to target businessmen in large groups) in the near future. And ultimately what will determine whether or not this company continues to grow and expand its personal data collection on random citizens is how we react right now.
It really comes down to whether or not our surveillance society is so far entrenched into the psyche of the people that they are even willing to allow trashcans to spy on them.
This post originally appeared at Story Leak