Making Unique Observations in a Very Cluttered World

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Devices Hidden in London’s Recycling Bins Track Smartphones -

Devices Hidden in London’s Recycling Bins Track Smartphones - 

The unique identifying numbers of over half a million smartphones have been recorded by a network of recycling bins in central London.

Hundreds of thousands of pedestrians walking past 12 locations unknowingly had the unique MAC address of their smartphones recorded by Renew London.

Data including the “movement, type, direction, and speed of unique devices” was recorded from smartphones that had their Wi-Fi on.

First reported by Quartz, the data gathering appears to be a Minority Report-esque proof-of-concept project, demonstrating the possibility for targeted personal advertising.

“It provides an unparalleled insight into the past behavior of unique devices — entry/exit points, dwell times, places of work, places of interest, and affinity to other devices — and should provide a compelling reach data base for predictive analytics (likely places to eat, drink, personal habits etc.),” reads a blog post on the company’s site.

In tests running between 21-24 May and 2-9 June, over 4 million events were captured, with over 530,000 unique devices captured. Further testing is taking place at sites including Liverpool Street Station.

Renew operates around 100 recycling bins around London, primarily in the City of London, which double up as digital advertising boards. 12 of those bins, were fitted with tracking devices.

The project is the first use of a piece of technology called Presence Orb. Launched by Presence Aware in March of this year, Presence Orb is described as a “A cookie for the real world”, in reference to web cookies that track your online behaviour across sites.

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1 comment:

  1. This has come as a surprise to me. With the advancement of technology, if you want to Change MAC Address of your NIC card. Nowadays, in many black market, there has come a technology using which you can change the IMEI number of your smartphone too. Shocking, isn't it?