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The pursuit of citizens' privacy: a privacy-aware smart city is possible

Description: Cities are growing steadily, and the process of urbanization is a common trend in the world. Although cities are getting bigger, they are not necessarily getting better. With the aim to pro- vide citizens with a better place to live, a new concept of a city was born: the smart city. The real meaning of smart city is not strictly defined, but it has gained much attention, and many cities are taking action in order to be considered “smart.” These smart cities, founded on the use of information and communication technologies, aim at tackling many local problems, from local economy and transportation to quality of life and e-governance. Although technology helps to solve many of these local problems, their ability to gather unprecedented amounts of information could endanger the privacy of citizens. In this article we identify a number of privacy breaches that can appear within the context of smart cities and their services. We leverage some concepts of previously defined privacy models and define the concept of citizens’ privacy as a model with five dimensions: identity privacy, query privacy, loca- tion privacy, footprint privacy and owner privacy. By means of several examples of smart city ser- vices, we define each privacy dimension and show how existing privacy enhancing technolo- gies could be used to preserve citizens’ privacy.

Publication date: 2013/6/10
Editor: IEEE
Abstract:
Cities are growing steadily, and the process of urbanization is a common trend in the world. Although cities are getting bigger, they are not necessarily getting better. With the aim to pro- vide citizens with a better place to live, a new concept of a city was born: the smart city. The real meaning of smart city is not strictly defined, but it has gained much attention, and many cities are taking action in order to be considered “smart.” These smart cities, founded on the use of information and communication technologies, aim at tackling many local problems, from local economy and transportation to quality of life and e-governance. Although technology helps to solve many of these local problems, their ability to gather unprecedented amounts of information could endanger the privacy of citizens. In this article we identify a number of privacy breaches that can appear within the context of smart cities and their services. We leverage some concepts of previously defined privacy models and define the concept of citizens’ privacy as a model with five dimensions: identity privacy, query privacy, loca- tion privacy, footprint privacy and owner privacy. By means of several examples of smart city ser- vices, we define each privacy dimension and show how existing privacy enhancing technolo- gies could be used to preserve citizens’ privacy.

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