Comment and analysis on all things Charlotte

First Pics of City Recycling Bin Spy Chip

rfid spyFollowing up on the revelation WBT’s Tara Servatius made yesterday on the radio frequency ID (RFID) chips embedded in the city of Charlotte’s new green rollout recycling bins, here are a couple pictures which reveal the location of the RFID chips on the bins.

The first give away is the US Patent number on the front lip, followed by the small rectangle on the center of the lip. That is the street facing edge, up high, a prime location for truck mounted sensors to pick up. When you invert the bin and look up into the cavity created by the front lip bracing, the outlines of the chip are quite visible, especially with bright back-lighting. Someone with a better camera rig could probably get a very good shot looking at the bottom of the chip that way.

rfid spyIn any event, now that we know where it is, the chip’s bleeps could be blocked by relatively simple non-destructive means.

Remember, the bin is the property of the city of Charlotte — you don’t want Rodney Monroe or Mac McCarley coming after you for drilling a hole in it. A strip of aluminum foil duct tape across the top of the chip on the lip paired with a wad of aluminum foil jammed up against the bottom of the chip inside the cavity should do the trick.

Next up, a closer look at Otto Industries, the home town, Charlotte firm responsible for selling the city this recycling “solution.”

10 Responses to “First Pics of City Recycling Bin Spy Chip”

  • May
    07
    2010

    I didn’t listen to the show, so this may have been covered already:
    Ok… so if you block the signal, wouldn’t the truck operator be instructed to NOT pick up the rollout? Or get out and do a manual ID?

  • May
    07
    2010

    Dunno. Seem two different operations to me.

  • May
    07
    2010

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jeff A. Taylor, Spy Gear. Spy Gear said: The Meck Deck » Blog Archive » First Pics of City Recycling Bin … http://bit.ly/bIsZCL [...]

  • May
    07
    2010

    Call 311 in Charlotte and request them to come get the bin. I already did today. Big Brother is only getting bigger each day.

  • May
    08
    2010

    This article is a RIDICULOUS non-story Jeff and you know it.

    For one thing, to refute the WBT notion that the reason these waste containers were so expensive was due to RFID chips being placed in them is an absolute load of garbage. In most instances, these chips cost less than 5¢ apiece,

    I have been working for years on tagging corporate distribution points with RFID tags for our supply-chain network, and the highest cost I have ever encountered in the (bulk) marketplace was $1 per tag… meaning we’d need to see hundreds of thousands of recycling cans purchased to actually make up this fallacious cost figure.

    Next off, if you are SOOO terrified of RFID chips, you best not shop at Belk anytime soon. Heck, for that matter better stay away from Best Buy as well. Shoot – you probably want to watch out for Harris Teeter too – because they utilize them! Belk inserts them into the bottom left inside-placket of men’s dress shirts, for example. And if you don’t have the wherewithal to remove them when you get home, they’re getting scanned a whole helluva lot of places than just that dept store: think—everywhere you wear that dress oxford. Best Buy inserts them into the back of CD and DVD covers. Wal-Mart uses the really fancy, tiny, expensive kind and in all likelihood you’ll never find them in most purchases you make from there. Most of these stores do it under the guise of preventing “shrink.”

    So, save your tinfoil for your hats, instead, and don’t waste it on mucking up your trash bin. If you had a little commonsense, you’d take notice: there is a freaking serial number on the side of your bin ALREADY, and if you actually watched outside your house on garbage day, you’d probably notice the trashmen writing your number down on their clipboard anyway…. They do it randomly as part of county surveys to analyze how frequently certain homes actually put out their trash bins.

  • May
    08
    2010

    Born, comparing private-sector RFID use to that of govt just helps show how wacky this “improved” recycling program really is.

    The bottom-line is the economics of recycling seldom make sense, so we get all kinds of obfuscation and cross-subsidies to hide that. Next, the notion that “education” of the public by govt is all that prevents people from recycling. Some folks may just prefer not to monkey around with their garbage. I think it is easier to recycle than not in terms of keeping your waste stream manageable, so that is why we recycle at a 50 gallon per week clip (that and ri-donk-u-los South Charlotte junk mail flows).

    What I most definitely do NOT need, however, is city govt — or a contractor paid by city govt — calling me up to ask about my recycling habits based on the data they obtain via the RFID in my driveway. It has nothing to do with being “afraid” of RFIDs. Disgusted with govt, absolutely.

    As for your clipboard scenario, the supposed savings of the new, new method hinge on a reduction in manpower. A guy with a clipboard does not fit.

    Besides, why does it matter if Charlotte has 100% recycling participation or 10%? What EXACTLY does that metric mean? If you dig deep enough, it is about money and power.

    I figure the govt already has plenty of both.

  • May
    08
    2010

    I am pretty uptight about privacy — My VIC card was found laying on the ground in another state more than a decade ago, I don’t want “the man” to know what I buy.

    It only took 30 seconds with a razor to remove the “spy chip” from both the recycling bin and my trashcan (the same “feature” is there as well). Slicing them open reveals… resin. There is nothing in them which looks like a chip to me.

    Existential issues aside, I am surprised that folks who justifiably call for the government to use technology to increase efficiency and accountability are against this technology which _may_ be used to increase efficiency and accountability.

  • May
    09
    2010

    A bit of swim through the fever swamps, methinks.

    Rather than blocking or cutting them out, stacking about 30 together or getting them affixed to the trucks would be more fun.

  • May
    10
    2010

    Man, the recycling police would be on me like white on rice. After all my kids left home and it’s just me, my wife and a 16-year-old cat, I find that I only have to take my recycling bin out once a month, if that. I’m sure I’d be on a suspect list in Charlotte with that frequency. Er, no pun intended.

  • May
    11
    2010

    [...] The Meck Deck » Blog Archive » First Pics of City Recycling Bin Spy Chip [...]

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