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Smart cities are the future, but they might threaten privacy (Cointelegraph)

Smart cities are the future, but they might threaten privacy (Cointelegraph)

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Is it possible to build a sustainable IoT-powered smart city of the future, one that doesn’t have all the dystopian side effects?

Das fragt ein aktueller Beitrag auf Cointelegraph – ich warne schon seit längerem hier davor, beim Thema “Smart City” auf allzu etablierte IT-Systemanbieter mit ihren eigenen IT-Lösungen zu setzen, genau deshalb:

You might have heard the term “smart city” before — a futuristic, utopian idea that we might see implemented in the foreseeable future. Indeed, some metropolises — like Singapore, Seoul, Amsterdam, Oslo and Tokyo — are already on their way to becoming “smart.”

So, what makes a city smart? That label is still quite abstract and might entail different meanings, but if you go the boring route and actually Google it, you’ll come across this unified definition: an interconnected urban area that utilizes various sensors and other methods to collect data and use it to improve its operations.

In other words, a smart city is a place where devices are connected to a common infrastructure. As a result, everything happening within that infrastructure is analyzed in real-time for various goals, like reducing costs and resource consumption, or increasing contact between citizens and government.

As you might have already thought, however, connecting data and managing access to smart devices is a slippery slope. The dangers of it were probably best shown by Bansky’s 2007 mural he painted on the wall of a Royal Mail office in London. It depicted a child writing “One Nation Under CCTV” while being watched by a police officer and a dog. The whole piece was fittingly put together near an actual CCTV camera.

Yes, public video surveillance might help the police to collect evidence (and potentially prevent crime, although its efficiency has been questioned), but the dystopian side effects it causes to society — like the feeling of being watched at all times and potential cases of CCTV abuse — are staggering.

And that’s happening in a democratic society. Now, imagine this dangerous, unpredictable dark side to building smart city applications under an authoritarian regime. Actually, there’s a good existing example: China’s infamous social credit system — a set of databases to monitor the “trustworthiness” of individuals — that essentially tracks your life 24 hours a day, assessing your loyalty to the state, and decides whether or not you’re good enough citizen to enjoy shorter wait times at hospitals or have priority for school admissions and employment.

Quelle, Bild und mehr auf: Cointelegraph

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