IDNYC Smart Chip Proposal Raises Surveillance Concerns

Bill de Blasio, mayor of New York City, proposed that RFID chips should be implanted in city ID cards to:

  • Make electronic payments
  • Connect to public transportation methods
  • Hold medical information.

However, many in City Council and in the private sector fear surveillance and privacy issues, for immigrants in particular. Carlos Manchaca, a City Council member, introduced an opposing bill to limit the data on the smart chip, citing surveillance concerns regarding undocumented New York City residents. Under Manchaca’s bill, the chip would only include facial information, with no health or financial data available.

Related: The Data Big Companies Have On You 

IDNYC Smart Chip
The proposed IDNYC Smart Chip could help New Yorkers connect to train and subway stations.

Darren Sadana, CEO of Choice Business Connections, which provides wireless connectivity and management for IoT solutions providers, shares some of Manchaca’s privacy concerns. He said,

“As a fairly new and rapidly evolving industry, IOT has the potential for world-changing applications—but privacy rights will be the linchpin of successful IOT adoption…The consumer and business information transmitted over IOT devices should be protected by national guidelines and laws.”

While Sadana doesn’t oppose the use of smart chips in IDNYC cards, he believes that data laws should protect New York City residents’ constitutional and civil liberties, particularly in regards with who has access to their data. With these ethical concerns in mind, smart city can technology can improve public transportation, environmental harm, and even public safety.

Smart Cities Could Improve Human Welfare, Says Report

Sadana’s views coincide with a report from McKinsey Global Institute, an international consulting firm, on smart cities. The report found that smart cities could improve the welfare of humans, evaluating more than 60 applications of IoT devices in cities concerning health care, energy and water conservation, waste disposal, and more. With widespread usage of smart city apps and real-time data collecting technology, quality of life could increase up to 30%, the report found.

Aliza Vigderman

Aliza Vigderman

Aliza is a journalist living in Brooklyn, New York. Throughout her career, her work has spanned many intersections within the tech industry. At SquareFoot, a New York-based real estate technology company, she wrote about the ways in which technology has changed the real estate industry, as well as the challenges that business owners face when they want to invest in property. At, an education technology website, Aliza created digital content for lifelong learners, exploring the ways in which technology has democratized education. Additionally, she has written articles for The Huffington Post as well as her own content on Medium, the online publishing platform. Aliza’s love of journalism and research stems from the excellent Journalism program at Brandeis University. At Brandeis, Aliza interned as a research assistant at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism, a non-profit “news room without walls”. There, Aliza was paired with an investigative journalist and used academic databases to obtain data on everything from the suicide rates in Bhutan to local Boston court cases. Her last position was as an account executive at Yelp, educating business owners on the power of technology to increase revenue. Throughout, however, her heart remained with tech journalism, and she’s thrilled to be writing for Security Baron. When she’s not keeping afloat of the latest tech trends, Aliza likes to cook, read, and write. A former high school “Class Clown,” Aliza has completed two feature-length screenplays, a pilot, and countless comedic sketches. On her days off you can find her relaxing in Prospect Park, trying the latest flavors at Ample Hills Ice Cream, and spending time with friends and family.

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