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Testimony on Oversight of “Smart City” Technology

At its core, “smart city” is an umbrella term covering a wide range of urban surveillance technologies. As sensors and software increasingly merge our digital and physical environments, and new forms of data collection, analysis, and automated decision-making are deployed in our public environments, we are crossing a tipping point. Networked devices throughout the City allow for the invasive tracking of practically every New Yorker’s whereabouts and associations – even identifying activists at protests. And software tools make invisible decisions impacting people’s fundamental rights in welfare, education, employment, housing, health care, the family regulation (or child welfare) system, and the criminal legal system. In the absence of meaningful privacy legislation at the state and federal level, we will continue seeing the adoption of new technologies that don’t meet people’s needs and invade their privacy.

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