Will Privacy Be the End of Smart City Initiatives?

By Harshvardhan Mishra Oct 13, 2020

Technology has changed the way we see, do, and relate to things.

It is here to change our lives for the better and it is doing just that. With IoT gaining widespread traction – even on the citywide scale – the standard of living in most places have been raised substantially.

If care is not taken, though, the very advantage points that these pieces of technology bring to us can become our greatest undoing too.

The Privacy Concerns of Smart Cities

One of the commonest implementations of smart cities is via the deployment of free Wi-Fi networks to different areas. 

This is great in ensuring a truly connected city in the future. While the city can use the free Wi-Fi network to build out a connected city, they are also contributing to the welfare of citizens by easing their online life.

The main problem here is the lack of encryption that comes with such networks. This means that any cybercriminal that knows what they are doing can lurk around such networks to launch man in the middle attacks, snoop in on conversations, hijack devices, and more.

Of course, the user only needs to connect to a VPN server to get out of this hole but many people do not know that.

In cities like San Francisco, facial recognition technology has been banned.

When we hear that the same tech has helped the police in India find more than 3,000 missing children in a matter of hours, we wonder why the ban. 

Turning around, having the digital faces of millions of people on a database without their consent is a huge privacy issue. That is not to mention the fact that people can now be monitored with every step that they take – even if they were not a person of interest, so to speak.

To amplify this issue, a claim from Clearview AI – a leading start-up in the facial recognition business – comes to mind. The company admits to having a database of billions of faces, most of which was scraped off social media channels and other online platforms. 

Not once did they seek the consent of these users nor the social media companies in question. That is surely questionable.

Smart Cities of the Future

Smart cities are important to the unlocking of the next level of better human living. However, there has to be a way to ensure the data obtained from the widespread implementation of smartness is not misappropriated. 

The consent of the citizens, regulations around deployed tech, and effective policing of the smart city players will all have to be in place if this project is to become acceptable and successful at all.


Article submitted by Chris Jones


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By Harshvardhan Mishra

Hi, I'm Harshvardhan Mishra. I am a tech blogger and an IoT Enthusiast. I am eager to learn and explore tech related stuff! also, I wanted to deliver you the same as much as the simpler way with more informative content. I generally appreciate learning by doing, rather than only learning. Thank you for reading my blog! Happy learning! Follow and send tweets me on @harshvardhanrvm. If you want to help support me on my journey, consider sharing my articles, or Buy me a Coffee!

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