Tags: chicago | smart | lamp posts

Chicago: Smart Lamp Posts to Collect Data on Foot Traffic, Air Quality

By    |   Monday, 23 Jun 2014 08:10 PM

Lamp posts in Chicago might be smarter than, well, your average lamp post after the city upgrades to smart lamp posts that have sensors to count people and measure environmental factors.

The city will begin putting the data sensors on the lamp posts on Michigan Avenue this summer, the Chicago Tribune said.

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The unusual system will measure numbers of people by locking on cell phone signals, although researchers associated with the project were quick to tell the Tribune that they won’t be collecting digital addresses that might contain personal information.

But even as online comments surface about Big Brother and allude to "watchdogs," the city is hoping to learn a lot from data that will help them make Chicago safer and even cleaner, Charlie Catlett, director of the Urban Center for Computation and Data, told the Tribune.

They’re also hoping the data collection project will draw others interested tech research to the Windy City.

“The city is interested in making Chicago a place where innovation happens," Catlett told the Tribune.

Cities around the world have been trying to collect more data, including such things as traffic flow and air quality.

It's no surprise that not everyone is on board with the smart lamp posts.

Fred Cate, a privacy expert, told The Republic that despite Catlett’s assurances to the contrary, large corporations could encourage the city to gather information they shouldn’t have.

“If you spend a million dollars wiring these boxes, and a company comes in and says we'll pay you a million dollars to collect personally identifiable information, what's the oversight over those companies?" Cate asked.

The data from the sensors will be released online immediately, which Chicago leaders are hoping will allay public concern.

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Lamp posts in Chicago might be smarter than, well, your average lamp post after the city upgrades to smart lamp posts that have sensors to count people and measure environmental factors.
chicago, smart, lamp posts
312
2014-10-23
Monday, 23 Jun 2014 08:10 PM
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