Smart Cities: Cyber Security and Privacy

Whilst the “Smart City” phenomenon is increasingly becoming a popular term among almost all circles of everyday life, the real progress on conceiving, devising, deploying and evolving services for “Smart City” remains slow. Governments, councils, and private sectors appear to be finding different ways of capitalising on the popularity and potential of “Smart City” phenomenon to address the challenges of increasing urbanisation. However, citizens and civil rights groups remain skeptical about the potential privacy violations of the data that need to be captured and analysed for providing the “Smart City” services and the security aspects those services in the face of persistent cyber attacks. And these two concerns are some of the biggest issues in the success of a “Smart City” initiative. Recently, our “Smart City” initiative was covered by the Guardian news paper and the ABC News and both of the media venues focused on the privacy issues involved in the “Smart City” projects.

Whilst the concerns about Cyber Security and Privacy are correct and real, such concerns can be considered real for any system that is connected to the Internet directly or indirectly. That means the concerns about Cyber Security and Privacy raised in the context of the “Smart City” should be viewed and considered in the context of any Information Communication Technology (ICT) dependent  system and not only the “Smart City” system – Hyper connectivity, Hyper virtualisation, and Hyper mobility have brought significantly new challenges for designing and building resilient systems that also empower data owners to be aware of and decide about the usage of their data but these concerns should not discourage us from taking ambitious new initiatives and break new grounds for improving liveability, increasing carbon neutrality and contributing to economy and job creation – making our cities and regions smart and liveable through ICT-based innovation is one of the ways of moving towards better living standards and economic prosperity.