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Smart Cities May Be The Death of Privacy As We Know It – Futurism (Claudia Geib | November 2017)

Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

Smart Cities May Be The Death of Privacy As We Know It – Futurism (Claudia Geib | November 2017)

Published/Released on November 07, 2017 | Posted by Admin on December 3, 2017 / , , , ,
 


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The Rise of the Smart City

The city of Barcelona is a sensory bustle. Elaborate tiled buildings glint beneath swaying palm trees while vendors hawk their goods in Spanish and Catalan. Amid such color and sound, it would be easy to overlook the gray plastic shields that have appeared on lampposts along the city’s main drag. It’s even easier to miss what they contain: sensor boxes that collect data on everything around them.

More a tech than a human research ethics story but it's not hard to imagine all this data being tantalising to researchers and hard for research ethics committees to ponder.

Each is equipped with its own hard drive and a wifi-enabled sensor, which tracks elements of its environment like noise and crowd levels and pollution and traffic congestion, then transmits it to a central data service via a fiberoptic cable. Fortune reports that the sensors can even monitor the number of selfies posted from the area.
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Beneath its old-world charm, Barcelona is outfitted with new-world technology, which led digital market research firm Juniper Research to grant it the title of the world’s smartest city in 2015. But it didn’t retain that superlative for long — Singapore superseded it the following year. Around the world, city government offices are equipping their cities to collect a growing amount of data about residents and their activities. Barcelona, Boston, London, Dubai, and Hamburg have already begun the process; India has ambitious goals to revamp 100 of its cities by 2022. Singapore plans to become the world’s first “Smart Nation.”

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