Surveillance, Privacy and Public Space in the Stratumseind Living Lab: The Smart City Debate, beyond Data
Ars Aequi, special issue July/August, 2019
13 Pages Posted: 13 Aug 2019 Last revised: 17 Aug 2019
Date Written: July 1, 2019
In this contribution I open up the debate on smart cities and living labs, particularly in the field of law and policy, beyond the focus on data. I offer a glimpse of a broader perspective by examining the Stratumseind Living Lab through surveillance and privacy theory, exploring the implications both for privacy and public space itself. Concerning surveillance, I focus on a particular type of surveillant logic that is novel and prevalent in such initiatives – one that governs on a collective level without needing to individually identify individuals. I show how this mode of power – conceptualised as ‘security’ by Foucault – can still affect individuals, particularly by limiting their possibilities of action (including via nudging) and potentially limiting their autonomy. Especially, if the digital technology of the Stratumseind Livng Lab (or similar initiatives) would become more sophisticated and thus capable of individual exploitation of vulnerabilities and weaknesses – what has been termed ‘hypernudging’ – the risks for manipulation and thus for autonomy (a key argument for why we value privacy) would increase. Moreover, such surveillance can also affect society and democracy more broadly. In particular, I show how surveillance in public space can adversely affect the possibility and ability of persons to participate in informal social life (forming multiple and various social relations) as well as in formal civic participation (such as, expressing dissent in various forms and being a part of political associations).This broadening of scope confirms the claim that an adequate regulatory response to a matter as complex as privacy in public space in the context of smart cities requires stepping outside the frame of existing laws and regulations, including going beyond data protection law.
Keywords: Smart city, living lab, surveillance, privacy, public space, nudging, autonomy, democracy
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