The dilemma of Googles smart city: privacy has become a barrier to the past

 The dilemma of Googles smart city: privacy has become a barrier to the past

[Netease Intelligent News October 29 news] Googles parent company Alphabets innovative city division, Sidewall Labs, is currently in trouble with information privacy.

They lost Ann Cavoukian, chief expert and consultant of the Data Trust, which will approve and manage information gathering within the Toronto Concept Intelligent Community Quayside. Cavoukian, a former Ontario Information and Privacy Commissioner, disagreed with the current plan because it would give trust approval data the right to collect anonymity or de-identification at source. She said, I have had a very difficult time in this respect, and I can not accept it.

Cavoukians withdrawal raises doubts about Sidewalk Labs and city data that will be available at Quayside, the first part of a planned smart community called Sidewalk Toronto. Google has insisted that the community will follow a privacy design, a framework that Cavoukian first published in the mid-1990s. This approach ensures that privacy is taken into account in every aspect of the design process to strike a balance between civil rights and the cost of creating smarter, more efficient and environmentally friendly living spaces.

Google has been discussing how to adopt the framework since it was chosen as a Quayside planning partner last year. The team has held numerous meetings with public and technical experts, including Cavoukian, to explain their ideas and ensure that everyones concerns are taken into account in the Master Innovation and Development Plan early next year. The plan is actually the ultimate publicity or proposal and needs to be approved by the Toronto Municipal Government before any construction work starts.

Of course, privacy has always been a topic of discussion. Some Toronto people are nervous about Googles reputation for advertising and the vague messages they send to data collection.

Google said that their applications will follow the Cavoukian privacy design framework. But the problem is that trusts also have the right to approve applications that do not anonymity data at the source. In the proposal document, the Google team gave a theoretical case involving a public park camera. They said the application could not be self certified because it involves personal information. However, it can be approved, provided that the video clips are used only for park improvements and that the files are destroyed on a seven-day rolling basis, and the company needs to erect a sign near the camera and add its location to the public registry.

This room for maneuver is related to Cavoukian. She believes that all Quayside data should be anonymous at the source to safeguard citizens privacy. You can bet that more and more data will be collected in the form of personal identity, because thats the treasure, and thats what everyone wants,she said.

Last week, Cavoukian heard the decision at a meeting of the digital strategy advisory group in Toronto. Sidewalk Labs unequivocally told the group that the proposed Civic Data Trust would have broad powers, including decisions related to theidentificationof personal data, Cavoukian wrote in her resignation letter. Sidewalk Labs said anonymity of personal data would beencouragedbut it was up to them to decide.

In this regard, SidewalkLabs holds different views. The organization is committed to protecting privacy and will follow the Cavoukian framework. However, it does not think that it should be responsible for making policies in Quayside. The team believes that an independent trust will be better able to make these decisions even if they allow other companies to collect personally identifiable data.

At last weeks meeting of the Toronto Digital Strategic Advisory Group on Waterfront, it was clear that Sidewall Labs would play a more limited role in recent discussions on the Quayside data governance framework, the company said in a statement. SidewalkLabs has promised to implement privacy principles through design. Although this problem has been solved, it is unlikely that other companies involved in the Quayside project will be required to do so soon and may be beyond the control of Sidewalk Labs.

So the debate is whether Googles team should make trust agencies discern the data at source.

In Cavoukians letter, she said: Think about the consequences: if the personal data is notidentifiedat the source, we will create another central database of personal information (controlled by whom?). Without the consent of the data subject, this information could be used, exposing it to hacker attacks and unauthorized access. As we all know, existing encryption methods are not absolutely reliable and may be cracked, which could leak personal data from Toronto residents. Why do we take such risks?

Cavoukian is now pressing government agencies to change their minds and force identity cancellation at the source. You have to make laws, she said. Cavoukian is not the first privacy expert to give up the Quayside project. Saadia Muzaffar, founder of TechGirls Canada, left the Digital Strategy Advisory Group earlier this month. In a resignation letter, she said Waterfront Toronto lacks leadership in trust in the unstable public and in social permission. She said the advisory group attended the meeting in good faith but openly ignored residentsconcerns about the data.

These differences will add to Torontos worries, and Googles Sidewalk Labs team still has time to address these issues and develop an overall plan that is acceptable to everyone. However, if the company continues to let the public lose trust in it. (selected from: ENGADGET Author: NickSummers compilation: NetEase intelligent participation: nariiy)

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