Tag Archives: Smart City Skeptics

“This,” he says, “is about whether our devices will betray us.”

Free again: Doctorow signals the danger of states pushing tech boundaries. Photo: Rex/Will Ireland/Future Publishing

Cory Doctorow, courtesy of the New Statesman. Add this to the list of potential applications of smart city technology, under “Public Safety:”

Last month the security firm ESD America found dozens of “fake” mobile-phone towers across the US which were extracting data from users who unknowingly connected to them. Similar towers have been used at protests by police forces around the world to monitor activists. Doctorow argues that a government (he cites Ukraine as an example) could react to a protest by cross-referencing that data with information gleaned from domestic internet connections, because anti-digital piracy legislation often mandates “taps” on home web connections. Then it’s a simple job to establish protesters’ names and addresses. If they have a new smart thermostat, which is connected to the web, the state could even extract individual protesters’ thermostat ID. “Then they just cut off everybody’s heat that night,” he says. “Problem solved, done in one.”