Smart City or “Big Brother”?

Smart Objects

In an article from National Geographic, Dublin, Ireland’s largest city as well as its capital, is making a big leap to become a smart city. Given the business friendly environment of the city, Dublin has attracted a lot of technology giants. Intel, being one of them, announced recently its plan to invest $5 billion in Dublin to transform it into a smart city.

After the transformation, Dublin will be fully covered by censors. Brick lanes, lush parks and gray river banks will be seamlessly linked, gathering microclimate data such as air quality and noise levels. With the help of more than 200 gateways, each with a dozen censors, the city officials hope to gain a better hand at video monitoring and thus preventing crimes.

“Censors”, “Surveillance”, “Monitoring”, for those of us who read the book “1984” by George Orwell, these words are not unfamiliar. Yes, what the author described as “Big Brother” in the book is becoming reality in Dublin soon. The subtle, quiet but almost sneaky kind of surveillance worries people about their own privacy. The line drawn between private and public is thinner and thinner in today’s highly connected society. Are the technology providers, such as Intel in this case, going to get access to the data? What should be disclosed and what should not be still remands unaddressed.

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