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The Tennessee Conservative [By Jason Vaughn] –
Chattanooga, Tennessee is one of only two cities chosen in the United States that have agreed to ‘pioneer’ a new roadmap for adopting new technology as part of the World Economic Forum’s G20 Global Smart Cities Alliance.
In the United States, Chattanooga, along with San Jose, California have agreed to implement a roadmap, designed by the World Economic Forum, to give cities laws, procedures and regulations to “ethically and responsibly” use new data and technologies.
The cities have agreed to adopt policies for cybersecurity accountability, increased transparency for city data, increased broadband coverage, increased privacy protection and better accessibility to digital city services for disabled individuals and the elderly.
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While this sounds appealing on the surface, Rebecca Williams of The Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs has raised the alarm about potential harms and misuses that adopting “smart city” technologies might cause.
One of the first concerns regards the lack of community input involved when making the decision to implement new technologies. Williams states that ongoing engagement with the community and dialogue regarding data collection should be involved to explain how it might contribute to the collective good and the trade-offs involved.
Although the publicly-outlined plan for WEC’s Smart Cities doesn’t state that the new technologies will collect more data on individuals, Williams claims the contrary, stating that the tech can potentially collect data in quantity on individuals and could be used to track their movements through public spaces. She states this could lead to a decline in privacy protection, especially in the case of a data breach.
Should data collection of individuals be increased through various means that some Smart Cities employ, Williams warns it could have a chilling effect on free speech due to fear of retaliation or harassment from the government.
While the publicly-outlined plan for Chattanooga includes “increased transparency for city data”, Williams says it could actually lead to a less accountable government.
Chattanooga has been fairly self-sufficient with its technology services but the increased technology requirements that come with Smart City implementation may result in more outsourcing.
With the outsourcing of technology services to private vendors, Williams states that the vendors can play a quasi-government function with the vendors not being held to the same standards of accountability as city government would be.
Chattanooga and the other chosen ‘Pioneer Cities’ are slated to launch their activities at an online global event, broadcast by the Smart City Expo World Congress, on November 17th and 18th.
Other cities chosen as ‘Pioneer cities’ include:
Apeldoorn, Netherlands; Barcelona, Spain; Belfast, UK; Bengaluru, India; Bilbao, Spain; Bogotá, Colombia; Brasilia, Brazil; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Cordoba, Argentina; Daegu, South Korea; Dubai, UAE; eThekwini (Durban), South Africa; Faridabad, India; Gaziantep, Turkey; Hamamatsu, Japan; Hyderabad, India; Indore, India; Istanbul, Turkey; Kaga, Japan; Kakogawa, Japan; Kampala, Uganda; Karlsruhe, Germany; Leeds, UK; Lisbon, Portugal; London, UK; Maebashi, Japan; Manila, Philippines; Medellín, Colombia; Melbourne, Australia; Mexico City, Mexico; Milan, Italy; Moscow, Russia; Newcastle, Australia; and Toronto, Canada.
More about the Governance Roadmap for Digital Technologies HERE.
About the Author: Jason Vaughn, Media Coordinator for The Tennessee Conservative ~ Jason previously worked for a legacy publishing company based in Crossville, TN in a variety of roles through his career. Most recently, he served as Deputy Director for their flagship publication. Prior, he was a freelance journalist writing articles that appeared in the Herald Citizen, the Crossville Chronicle and The Oracle among others. He graduated from Tennessee Technological University with a Bachelor’s in English-Journalism, with minors in Broadcast Journalism and History. Contact Jason at news@TennesseeConservativeNews.com