Your city is spying on you: From iPhones to cameras, you are being watched right now
Your city is spying on you: From iPhones to cameras, you are being watched right now: We’d like to think of smart technology as a benevolent omniscience, always acting in our interests. That’s certainly the pitch by technology giants, governments, and start-ups alike. But the proliferation of surveillance mechanisms isn’t an accident. Governments, who ought to be the ones drawing a line to protect us, can’t keep themselves away from the stuff. It’s so tempting that even after Congress shut down the Pentagon’s Total Information Awareness program in 2003, the National Security Agency went on to build a clandestine version of the same monitoring system, even borrowing some of TIA’s own prototype technology. As the Brookings report on Peaceful Chongqing concluded, “Governments with a history of using all of the tools at their disposal to track and monitor their citizens will undoubtedly make full use of this capability once it becomes available.” The study purported to deal only with authoritarian states, but it might just as easily have included the United States.
In our rush to build smart cities on a foundation of technologies for sensing and control of the world around us, should we be at all surprised when they are turned around to control us?
Excerpted from “Smart Cities: Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Quest for a New Utopia” by Anthony M. Townsend. Copyright © 2013 by Anthony M. Townsend. With permission of the publisher, W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.