Locative Lab

researching locative media

Electronic bugs turning up in Britain’s rubbish bins


Electronic spy ‘bugs’ have been secretly planted in hundreds of thousands of household wheelie bins, reports Sunday’s Daily Mail.

The gadgets – mostly installed by companies basedin Germany – transmit information about the contents of the bins to acentral database which then keeps records on the waste disposal habitsof each individual address.

Already some 500,000 bins in council districts acrossEngland have been fitted with the bugs – with nearly all areas expectedto follow suit within the next couple of years.

Until now, the majority of bins have been altered without theknowledge of their owners. In many cases, councils which ordered theinstallation of the devices did not even debate the proposals publicly.

The official reason for the bugs is to ‘improve efficiency’ andsettle disputes between neighbours over wheelie-bin ownership. Butexperts say the technology is actually intended to enable councils toimpose fines on householders who exceed limits on the amount ofnon-recyclable waste they put out.

… According to onservative MP Andrew Pellingm ‘This is nothingmore than a spy in the bin and I don’t think even the old Soviet Unionmade such an intrusion into people’s personal lives.

‘It is Big Brother gone mad. I think a more British way of doing things is to seek to persuade people rather than spy on them.’

http://www.smartmobs.com/archive/2006/08/27/electronic_bugs.html

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About

Cityscape LocativeLab.org is Ronald Lenz's research website on locative & mobile media. This is mostly an archive of blogposts I find inspiring and interesting and an overview of my work. I'm a strategist, technologist and researcher in the field of Location-Based Mobile Services and work at Waag Society, a medialab in Amsterdam, The Netherlands where I head the Locative Media research program and at 7scenes, a platform for GPS games and tours as creative director. Picture 4 Find me at Twitter, LinkedIn or via ronald [at] waag [dot] org.

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