Apr 11

Image: Hugh Han via Unsplash

Technology is on a constant, upward trend to make life easier for people. Things are not what they used to be just several years ago, and we are getting better with the use of technology almost every day.

One of the wider scale implementations of technologies for better living is seen with smart cities. By improving human life and bettering communities on a larger scale, their functionality makes a case for themselves.

The Smart City Ideas That Stand Out

There are a lot of smart cities popping up all around the world, and their number will only go up.

Seoul, South Korea is one of the biggest smart city projects to date. Due to the population of this city, waste management is one of the biggest issues on its radar. The city is starting to solve that with a system of connected trash bins that makes it easier to control waste.

Besides collecting waste, these cans are designed to compact the waste itself so that it has more space to take on more. The network of trash cans also sends a message to a central network that determines which one is full, helping waste collectors to plan their routes better.

CCTV usage is another feature of smart cities that has become highly advanced. Combining it with facial recognition technology has proven to be effective in supporting safety and finding missing people – such as the recovery of thousands of missing kids in New Delhi, which was accomplished in under a week.

City-wide Wi-Fi has also made connectivity issues a thing of the past. Public areas (such as parks, government offices, etc.) usually enjoy the most from such initiatives.

With these perks of smart cities among many others, what could go wrong in the quest for a truly connected, brighter future?

Privacy Risks and Concerns

For smart cities to work the way they do means the collection of data on a very large scale. Unfortunately, this data collection can mean tracking every aspect of a citizen’s life.

Facial recognition software company Clearview AI, for example, admits to collecting user images on social media networks and other online platforms to train its algorithm. Note that this is done without user consent. With the facial recognition tech deployed elsewhere, there is no user consent before their facial data is continually captured and used.

Moving on into cases of the city-wide Wi-Fi network. Service providers and the government can easily spy on your activity and collect your data when you connect to these networks. People should consider using a VPN to stay private.

The best smart cities will be those that are designed with user security and privacy at the forefront. Only then can we have a connected city that is not scarier than it is functional.

This post was published with permission from the Tech Fools blog.

Matthew Stern

By Matthew Stern

Matthew Stern is a technology content strategist at TechFools, a tech blog aiming at informing readers about the potential dangers of technology and introducing them to the best ways to protect themselves online.

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