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Are You In Danger From “Smart Cities?”

Are You In Danger From “Smart Cities?”

“Smart” technology is everywhere these days. There is a good chance that you are reading this on a smartphone, for example, but there are also smart refrigerators and dishwashers, smart thermostats in our homes, even complete smart homes that use connections between devices to allow you to monitor and control many aspects of your home even while you are away from home.

And, let’s be honest, some of this technology is pretty amazing and has the potential to add some nice conveniences to our lives.

But smart technology can also come with a price. The price that few people are talking about has to do with the information which this smart technology collects and transmits to the companies that manufacture and provide “back end” support for these devices.

Taking that issue even farther, some governments are looking for ways to protect us from threats by being able to identify threats and threatening people before those people can do something terrible. When used for this purpose, it’s hard to argue that this technology isn’t a good thing. But the flip side is the ease with which this information can be abused. For example, if you homeschool your children (because public schools won’t exactly be an option if you have to bug out), then how many government agencies already believe that you are a threat? Will smart technology be used to track you down and abduct your children in the name of helping them? History says that this is likely to happen somewhere at some time.

And, in case that you think this is all very far fetched and that the technology can’t be used for this purpose, then you need to realize that facial recognition technology for this very purpose is already being developed for use here in the West. Caitlin Fairchild writes,

Tech company Nvidia announced Thursday that it has partnered with AI developer Any Vision to bring a new type of surveillance technology to smart cities.

Both companies are working on bringing automatic facial recognition into closed-circuit television surveillance cameras, Mashable reports.

According to Anyvision, the technology can continuously scan for faces 24/7, and automatically identify and track individuals with 99% accuracy. Then the systems algorithms, with the help of human monitors, will compare identified faces with criminal databases.The technology is also meant to be scalable across platforms, from smartphones to computers

This initiative is part of Nvidia’s Metropolis program. The company has already partnered with Cisco, Genetec, Omni AI, and MotionLoft with the goal of bringing AI-powered surveillance technology to cities to help make them ‘smarter’.

If and when this technology is implemented, the amount of sensitive, biometric data would be like a treasure chest for hackers. Though, Nvidia says it is fully committed to protecting personal data. [hat tip to here for the lead]

And, in case Nvidia’s statement about protecting person data makes you feel safe, understand that anything that can be hacked eventually will be hacked. It’s just a matter of time. So, hacked and abused by governments. Isn’t that wonderful?

I won’t claim to have an easy answer for this if you live in any area where closed-circuit cameras are common, such as most urban areas. So, if that’s you, you may want to move to a rural area now before this technology becomes rampant.

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