Big cities all around the world are being outfitted with latest technology that essentially turns them into what today is known as a smart city. The epithet may sound more like a buzzword at this stage but in a couple of years, all the capitals cities on this planet would have been racing toward being named as such. Barcelona is one such city. Lampposts across the city have been equipped with devices that bear their own hard drive and sensors that are Wi-Fi-enabled.
Many things can be executed by these devices: they basically track on both crowd and noise levels, keep an eye on pollution and traffic jams, and all other kinds of data that are then to be sent to a central service via fiberoptic cables. The devices can even take data of how many selfies being posted on social media platforms around an area. All of this techs led Barcelona to being awarded as the smartest city in the world in 2015, a title that was snatched off of it by Singapore in 2016. While
Singapore thrives to grow from the world’s smartest city to the world’s first Smart Nation, all other cities across the globe race to revamp themselves: India plans to turn 100 of its cities into smart cities by 2022 whereas Hamburg, Dubai, London, and Boston have all begun equipping themselves with devices capable of pooling data about things within themselves.
This improvement (or enhancement, if you prefer so) is intended to create an environment that is more efficient, cleaner, more sustainable, and safer. But despite all the good intents, concerns are also raised along with further technological implementations that are intended to make the cities smarter: Privacy. Now, can you feel safe while the data is being gathered off your smart devices? Your privacy is already at risk when your devices seem to gather data from your behavior and send that data to phone-makers and/or cellphone providers.
You are now faced with the fact that your government itself pools data off your devices—despite for the betterment of living environment you are currently at.
The foundation of a smart city is laid upon two kinds of data: real-time and aggregated one. Real-time data is collected from individuals. Sensors are being installed on regular items such as a recycling bin. Whenever an individual passes by this bin, the sensor will analyze Wi-Fi signals emitted by your phone.
The Media Access Control within your phone would then be manipulated by the sensor to deliver advertisements relevant to a place an individual frequently passes by. Aggregated data, meanwhile, is acquired by sensors placed across the city on a specific point. The data is then sent to a larger network of computer to be analyzed for spotting trends. The application of this method can turn in various results: the most popular place to park cars, hazards on a city’s traffic, streetlights adjustment according to the crowd level. The age of Internet of Things is brought forth by the fact that more objects are designed to connect to the Internet. As more things are connected to the Net, more data is expected to be gathered. This then rises a question: Should privacy be sacrificed for a more integrated and automated way of living?