Smart cities are neither, 2021 edition

“Whose Streets? Our Streets! (Tech Edition).”

Cory Doctorow

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A chart by Rebecca Williams labeled ‘How A Smart City Watches You: Identfying Data Spectrum,’ ranging from ‘Direct Identifiers’ (address, biometric, name) down to ‘Data Not About Anyone’ (weather reports). These are depicted as a pyramid, with less-identifying collection at the bottom layer and more identifying collection at the peak.

The lockdown was a chaotic time for “smart cities.” On the one hand, the most prominent smart city project in the world — Google’s Sidewalk Labs project in Toronto — collapsed thanks to the company’s lies about privacy and land use coming to light.

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