A wide range of data-gathering sensors are being introduced to urban environments, which could pose a threat to our personal information

This article titled “Are smart cities and digital privacy at odds?” was written by Lucy Purdy, for theguardian.com on Friday 2nd September 2016 11.07 UTC

Experts predict an increase of 4,300% in annual data generation by 2020. From facts and figures about our shopping habits and how we travel, to energy meters in our homes and data on the rubbish we throw out, this information could help society be more sustainable.

But evidence suggests that modern cities also place a high value on privacy and digital security. Some argue that the scale of this unprecedented flow of information undermines urban anonymity, and the 2015 Economist Safe Cities Index incorporated a digital security metric alongside traditional measures of safety such as personal security and health. In developing smart cities as the new paradigm, authorities and businesses will need to negotiate this delicate balance. Do, and should, urban populations have a choice in their information being sourced and aggregated? What degree of privacy invasion will be tolerated?

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