Smart Cities: The Ultimate Surveillance Grid

Kristan T. Harris | The Rundown Live

With the implication of smart grid technology and smart meters comes the rising concern over privacy. Now we have smart cities. A metropolitan area under constant energy and data surveillance. A system that incorporates data from traffic lights, smart cars, smart meters for utilities and public transportation that could be cataloged and be invaluable data online.

The EU, has posted their plan,  version 3.0 of its European smart city plan in 2014, providing a listing of smart cities.

Extreme Tech paints an Orwellian depiction of a smart city they claim:

“It is a tech haven where roadway sensors, sidewalks sensors, infrastructure sensor networks, Apple Watches, smartphones, your vehicle, and even the shirt on your back are connected. Sources tell me about an application integrating multiple sensor systems that monitors sidewalk foot traffic that is very insightful: The foot traffic is analyzed, and then the large-screen advertising displays in the windows change to match the dominant demographic determined by the sensors.”

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has disclosed much concern over the issue off smart grid technology.

“Without strong protections, energy data can and will be used in ways that will hurt consumers. Marketing companies will desperately want to access this data to get intimate new insights into your family’s day-to-day routine, and it’s not hard to imagine an insurance company interpreting the data in a way that allows it to penalize you. Our privacy rights should be strongest in our home. The states — and the federal government — should ensure that energy customers get the protection they deserve.”, published the EFF.

Now a new villain has appeared, hackers. Sensitive personal data could be used for alternative motives.

Sean Sullivan, a security analyst at F-Secure, said: “Smart cities can provide planning departments a lot of very value information for better city living – but it could also be a big vector for fraud unless properly secured.”

He believes that smart cities are “highly hackable” but predicted that we are more likely to see pranks – such as fiddling with highway signs or one-day outages on transport systems that cause chaos – than large-scale attacks.

Sullivan pointed to a smart power meter hack investigated by the FBI that could be costing utility firms millions by letting tech-savvy users reprogram the meter and get energy for free.

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