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.
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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.