Smart Cities Report Says Less Than 25% of Cities “conduct privacy impact assessments” When Deploying New Tech

By B.N. Frank

Opposition to “Smart Cities” has been ongoing due to numerous risks associated with living in, working in, and visiting them (see 1, 2, 3, 4, 5).  Some U.S. cities have already become “Smart” (see 1, 2) and legislators insist on funding more of them, whereas Toronto cancelled its “Smart City” plans last year (see 1, 2).

Another report was recently published about the impact new technologies could have on communities whether they officially become “Smart” or not.

From Smart Cities Dive:


Global cities still falling short on governance of smart city tech: report

  • Even as many cities adopt new technologies, they often lack basic governance policies around data privacy, accessibility and cybersecurity, according to a new report from the World Economic Forum (WEF).
  • The report, based on detailed surveys with officials from 36 global cities, found that less than a quarter conduct privacy impact assessments when deploying new technology, while 80% acknowledge their legal obligations for privacy and data protection.
  • The G20 Global Smart Cities Alliance, which uses WEF as its secretariat, is crafting a broad governance policy for government leaders and technology companies. The goal is to create a policy roadmap around five principles: equity, inclusivity and social impact; security and resilience; privacy and transparency; openness and interoperability; and operational and financial sustainability.

Dive Insight:

Local governments have been racing to become the next “smart city,” introducing new technology and digital services. Those advancements can be helpful for citizens and policymakers — especially during the pandemic when in-person services were suspended — but also carry risks if they’re not managed properly, said report author Jeff Merritt, WEF’s head of internet of things and urban transformation.

“It’s a bit shocking when you see what some cities aren’t thinking about. They move so fast that they’re not thinking about clarity of accountability or responsibility,” said Merritt, who was previously the director of innovation for New York City. “Imagine if you taught a child to read books without first teaching them letters. A process that helps us focus on the basics can bring to light some of the fundamentals that might be skipped.”

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Activist Post reports regularly about unsafe technology.  For more information, visit our archives and the following websites:

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