These street signs explain how you’re being watched by smart city tech.
Sidewalk Labs has created a new signage system to explain the invisible sensors that are tracking you when you’re in public areas. But there’s still no way to opt out–besides leaving.
Last week, the Google sister company Sidewalk Labs unveiled a comprehensive system of urban signage designed to disclose what technology it is using to track people in public spaces. The signs are meant to be a visual representation of the privacy policies the company is developing to go along with its data collection technology. At first, the company plans to display the signage at its Toronto office, where it is testing mockups and prototypes for its planned “smart” neighborhood in the city, but it hopes other companies and cities will adopt the system as well.
Each sign features a disclosure of the otherwise-invisible technology that Sidewalk Labs is proposing to use in its 12-acre development, known as Quayside. That project has come under fire from privacy advocates; the Canadian Civil Liberties Association is now suing all three tiers of the Canadian government over Quayside.
With the new signage, Sidewalk’s design team is attempting to confront a major challenge facing both companies and cities collecting data in public spaces–and the concerns of citizens in those spaces who care about their privacy. Yet, even if Sidewalk and other smart city companies disclose their technology to people, there is still no underlying framework through which people can opt out of being tracked in public space, short of avoiding public space altogether.
Read the complete FastCompany article by Katharine Schwab here: https://www.fastcompany.com/90337467/welcome-to-the-surveillance-city-these-signs-explain-how-youre-being-watched