New Definitions of Privacy and Trash Collection Collide

TOPIC: Information Gathering and Privacy
TESA: Technology/Entrepreneurship/Society/Arts

In May 2013 UK ad firm, Renew, embedded technology within trash bins that interacted with the smart devices of pedestrians passing by.

Certainly this is a story about technology, but I placed it in the “Society” category because of the implications with regard to privacy. My sense is that we will not be able to stop the proliferation of these kinds of technologies. Ultimately, everything about us will be “known” or, at least, discoverable at all times. The implications of this is that the very meanings of “personal” and “private” will mean something quite different at the end of this century than they did at the beginning. trashbinThe ideas of “personal” and “private” are both social constructs that have differing meanings across time and culture. In the future, they may be archaic words with only ancient meanings or words with redefined meanings that we cannot yet fathom.


“We will cookie the street,” Renew Chief Executive Kaveh Memari.


“The trash cans join a host of everyday objects from televisions to toilets that are being manufactured with the ability to send and receive data, opening up new potential for interaction — and surveillance.”



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