Early Stage Researcher Barbara Lazarotto (ESR 7) presented her research at the 9th biennial Surveillance & Society conference of the Surveillance Studies Network (SSN), hosted by Erasmus University Rotterdam on June 1-3 2022 in Rotterdam, The Netherlands.
As a part of the panel named “Human Rights Europe and Global South” Barbara presented her topic of public-private data sharing under the lens of State Surveillance, analyzing the role of sensors in a Smart City context and how this data can be used to analyze and monitor entire populations.
To do that, Barbara first pointed out the broad concept of “smart cities” which is used for several different purposes and political agendas which might be concerning when it comes to the public expectations of locational privacy. Subsequently, she presented three examples of the use of public-private data sharing in smart city contexts, namely the city of Kortrijk (BE), a bridge installed in Amsterdam (NL), and the city of Enschede (NL). These three examples were able to demonstrate the extensive use of public-private partnerships that constantly track and monitor individuals’ behaviors and movements.
At last, Barbara focused on the fundamental rights that are violated by these sensors, highlighting that the idea that sensors are non-personal data might be misleading since the number of sensors is becoming so high in some cities that is in fact possible to single out an individual. Thus, Barbara pointed out that by violating locational privacy, other rights might be also violated such as freedom of religion and liberty and security. Barbara finalized her presentation by highlighting the necessity to increase citizens’ participation within the decision-making process of smart cities’ public-private partnerships, the requirement for citizen digital literacy, and further regulation of smart city sensors.