While the GDPR is alive and kicking (with very heavy fines) and new data protection regulations are emerging all over the world (from California and Brazil to Australia), an important question should be asked – How will these new stricter regulations limit the development of Smart Cities and smart collaborative technologies?
The production of smart collaborative technologies is heavily connected to the process of sharing data of individuals. Every technology that involves data collection holds potential concerns over privacy and security. These challenges only increase as the amount of data gathered via the Internet of Things (IoT) – to create connections and interactions, cutting expenses and improving the quality of life for citizens – continue to grow.
Regulators faced this challenge by imposing strict requirements regarding the collection of personal data, its purposes, retention periods as well as required security measures to protect the data.
This development poses the ultimate challenge for Smart City developers. They must adequately balance between the need for heavy dose of reliable data to build and improve their technologies while demonstrating to their investors, business partners and city planners the way they comply with the everchanging data privacy regulations.
The way to do it is by investing heavily in the concept of ‘privacy by design’. Developers must think “privacy” from the earliest stages and as part of it consider the following:
- How to produce smart-city technologies which are not based on personal data and can be based on anonymized or aggregated data?
- How to pseudonymize information collected to limit the exposure?
- How to add erasure and data extraction capabilities to the technology? etc.
Start-ups which will fail to implement this concept” may ultimately find themselves “out of the game”, even if their technology is innovative.
By investing in Privacy by Design, privacy regulations will not limit the development of smart collaborative technologies, but only change the course to an era of safer technologies which allow smart city planners to enhance the level of city services offered to the citizens without harming their privacy.