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Assume that an Australian State Government has reviewed the Singapore Government’s Smart Nation Plan and has decided to implement their own Smart State Plan. This will initially consist of a network of smart sensors and cameras at traffic lights, bus stops, rubbish bins, etc. in their CBD to monitor citizens behaviour and address street crime.

1. Discuss what you see as the personal and ethical implications for your privacy of the proposed Government’s Smart Sensor Network by looking at:

a. The types or categories of people affected by this proposal,

b. What behavioural changes you might expect to see from normal citizens,

c. Would you expect to see changes in individual behaviours, such as choice of activities, changes in time schedules, etc.

The next part of the Government’s plan is to deploy a Smart WiFi Network which will consist of a series of sensor boxes to act as WiFi hotspots throughout the city. This would allow the introduction of a heterogeneous network where smart phones and other devices could seamless switch between mobile data and WiFi.

2. Discuss what you see as the personal and ethical implications for your privacy of the proposed Government’s Smart WiFi Network by looking at:

a. The types or categories of people affected by this proposal,

b. What behavioural changes you might expect to see from normal citizens using their mobile devices in the CBD,

c. Would you expect to see changes in individual behaviours, such as choice of activities, changes in time schedules, etc.

d. What are the implications for you If you had sensitive information on your mobile device that you did not want to share?

The Smart State Plan will also enrol all citizens with a Digital Identity to ensure that they can correctly be identified and access services provided by the state both electronically and physically.

3. If you were visiting the State Capital after the Smart State Plan has rolled out, do you think that the use of a digital identity would assist you to maintain your privacy while using your mobile phone or devices during your visit? Discuss the reasons for your answer.

4. What steps do you think that you could take to ensure the security and privacy of your digital identity while operating your mobile device(s) in this environment? Discuss each step that you would take along with its advantages and disadvantages.

Smart Sensors

Smart in the 21st century has emerged as one of the most used words. The reason for such attention lays base on the development of smart technologies and how they can influence an individual, community, state or even a whole nation. Singapore is one of such country which has devised and implemented a strategy to make the country a smart one. Inspired by the changes in Singapore, Australia has also planned to implement a similar plan to enhance the smartness of Australia. As part of the process, the country is planning to induce smart sensing networks at the bus stops, traffic lights, rubbish bins and other public places to monitor the behaviour of the citizens while addressing the street crimes. However, it might have some consequences that are relevant to the privacy of the citizens which might cite personal and ethical implications and hence, they have been discussed as follows:

  1. The discussed proposal will have a country wide effect on the population as the proposal is planned to be implemented throughout the country and will monitor the activities of the each and every citizen. However, there are some specific categories of group that will be impacted by it the most. The people who are highly confidential about their personal life or are introvert or are suffering from SID (Social Identities’ Disorder) and similar others will find it difficult to cope up with staying in the attention or surveillance (McCormack & EII, 2017). The above statement can be justified by the fact that several researches have proved that mass surveillance is capable of supressing the feeling and speech of an individual. The types of people discussed above are the ones who supress their feeling and the deemed proposal will further influence them to suppress their personality which is undesirable and will impact their personality greatly. Additionally, some researches also cites that the people who are artistic in nature also starts restricting themselves from penning down their opinion because of the fear of gaining high attention from the surveillance authorities. The social activists would also start taking extra precaution because of the monitoring of the citizens which will offer the people in power to use their power to fulfil their personal agendas and objectives which might increase the corruption and power misuse (Abich IV, Reinerman-Jones, & Matthews, 2017). The increased corruption, misuse of power and directly or indirectly suppressing of the people’s opinion can be considered as unethical when considered in context of the democratic nations. Other categories of people may also get affected such as the politicians who are not in the government or those who fight against corruptions which would be unethical in terms of the country.
  2. The behavioural changes that may be identified in the citizens is the oppressing of the feelings & speech, people restricting themselves from savouring, standing against the unethical acts of the powerful bodies and others (Wang, Zhou & Zheng, 2017). The youth are one of the people who savour their moments at any place and moment, however, post implementation of the proposal they will restrict themselves from savouring their moments which will have a great impact on their behaviour and ultimately the development of their personality. The country will also miss on some great artistic work as the creative people would start oppressing their true emotions leading them to offer creative works which will be reflected on their work. The fear of getting unwanted attention will also restrict the people to protest against the unethical acts conducted by those in power (Wang, Zhou & Zhang, 2017). Hence, it would be justified to state that the monitoring of the citizens would greatly influence the behaviour of the citizens. The discussed proposal might introduce discipline and mitigate criminal activities but will adversely impact the perks offered by a democratic nation.
  3. The discussions above have cited that the people who enjoys themselves will restrict themselves from savouring which is a major change of activities. However, the change of individual behaviour is not restricted to only savouring but multiple other changes will also be witnessed such as the people will prefer to spend most of their time at homes rather than in being open spaces where the government can monitor them (Lyon, 2015). Hence, it will lead to reduction in outdoor activities and increased indoor activities (Bouman et al., 2014). The time framework of the individuals will also change as the people who used to get out of their residents or workplaces so that they can savour outdoor will witness reduction and they will start to schedule themselves according to their work and other necessary activities. It will also affect the general life and activities of an individual because of the mass surge in number of people at the peak hours of the day. The mass surge will affect the traffic, malls and similar places which will impact the behaviour of the citizens. Similar other prominent changes may also be identified in the behaviour of the individuals which may greatly influence their personality.

One of the parts that is included in the proposal is the deployment of the Smart Wi-Fi networks. It includes deployment of a series of sensor boxes that will offer free Wi-Fi hotspot services to throughout the city. The deemed step is part of deployment of a heterogeneous network that enables switching of the network seamlessly between the Wi-Fi and the mobile data. The deployment will have its perks and challenges. One of the prominent challenge that will be attached with the deployment of the service in consideration is the threat to privacy (Marques et al., 2017). The discussed privacy threat will have its implications in context with the ethical and personal basis. The implications will have influence on different people according to their needs and will also bring in some alterations to their nature. The influence and impact have been discussed in the following points as an impact or influence that it will have on the users of the service.

  1. The discussed deployment will have impact on the different categories of people. The people who will be affected by the discussed service in terms of privacy are those who are not much concerned over the security and privacy of their personal information (Wong et al., 2016). The Wi-Fi hotspots will have a large number of devices associated to it and the flow of data will also occur in different directions which makes it difficult to keep the network a fully secure network. Hence, it will be vulnerable to cyber-attacks. The cyber-criminals can use the network to carry out some notorious acts which make risk the privacy of the above discussed individuals because they have not kept their data safe or taken adequate attention to safe keep their personal information while connecting to the network (Sambasivan et al., 2017). However, the individuals discussed above are not the only ones who are at privacy risk because of associating with the public Wi-Fi, the individuals who are not adequately knowledgeable about technology are also at risk. Unlike the above individuals the deemed individuals may wish to keep their data safe, however, due to limited knowledge about secure methods their information is at risk. The deemed individuals may be unaware of security tools and techniques that are capable of keeping the data safe when connected to a public Wi-Fi hotspot. However, if the network is suffering from heavy flaws, then all the users who have connected their mobiles or other computing devices to the Wi-Fi are facing a privacy threat.
  2. The behavioural changes that can be witnessed post the deployment of the discussed service can vary according to the individual’s personality. The youth’s may use the deemed service to access contents that are available online that they seem fit for their savouring method (Wan, 2017). A youth that is obsessed with speed might learn some tricks related to speed and it will make their behaviour a little more risk taking while who is obsessed with knowledge may use the service to collect some knowledge that may change his/ her perception. Hence, it would be justified to state that depending upon the use of the service the behaviour of the users the change in behaviour may differ. However, certain behavioural changes may be common for all the users of the services. The changes in discussion are change in activities (adoption of activities which can be greatly supported by the deemed service), change of time (so as to leverage the service) and similar other activities. Adoption of new activities and leaving the old ones will have major impact on the behaviour of the users.
  3. The free Wi-Fi services will have major impact on the selection of new activities or change in former activities of an individual. The users who are suffering from poor connectivity will try to schedule their time so that they can leverage the Wi-Fi service at its maximum strength. They may also prefer to spend more time outdoors so that they can leverage the available service. Additionally, depending on the locations of the Wi-Fi hotspots the individuals may adopt new activities or habits (Potts, 2014). If to access the service, an individual starts spending most of the time at a location close to a sports club they may get affectionate about that sports and start playing it. Similarly, they can adopt a new eating habit depending upon the food that is available close to the spot of Wi-Fi spots. The individuals who are knowledgeable and affectionate about the technology may also start exploring the new skills because of the seamless availability of the free service. On the other hand, some of the individuals who does not considers the Wi-Fi safe or useful may prefer to stay away from it and in the process keeping their behaviour unaltered (Shahin, 2017). Hence, it could be stated that depending upon the perception, personality and knowledge about the subject the activities of an individual will vary in context with the use of the Wi-Fi hotspot service.
  4. A Wi-Fi connection generally takes permission for accessing of the text messaging, phone calls, accessing of the media files on the device and similar other mobile facilities (Golbeck, 2017). It has also been discussed above that the personal information of the user connection to the deemed service will be at risk. Hence, those who does not wish to share their personal data will be at risk of losing their data because of their association with the service in discussion. Additionally, the server of the deemed service can also access the history of an individual and based upon that the behaviour and nature of the user can be determined which is an unethical act in context to the service administrators (Hsu et al., 2016). The administrators can also access the media of the connected user which would also be a violation to the privacy of those who wants to keep their data safe and limited to themselves. Hence, it can be stated that the users who are willing to keep their information limited to themselves should adopt some security measures to prevent violation of their privacy because not just the cyber-criminals, the administrator of the service can also access their data.

Another one of the prominent steps that the government is planning to convert Australia into a smart nation is introduction of the digital identities. The digital identities that are part of the Smart State Plan is an identity that will be introduced to ensure that the citizens are properly identified and are accessing the services offered to them by the state authorities in either (physically or electronically) or both means. The digital identity will offer prominent perks such as hassle-free carrying of the ids (digitally), keeping it secure and similar other prominent advantages (Mellmer et al., 2014). However, due to its association with the internet and cloud services, the privacy and security of the user due to the ids are also at risk which are the acting constraints of the discussed implementation.

Wi-Fi Hotspot

Post implementation of the Smart State Plan while visiting the State Capital, the user will enjoy the benefit of accessing the offers for the citizens with easy, however, there will be complicacies that will be in context to the privacy and security of the user and digital identity. The security of the State Capital is the strongest across the country because it is the base for all the powerful entities that includes the cyber security (Arteaga, 2017). However, recent cases are evident where due to the internal manipulation the privacy of the state and its associates get exposed to the risk. Additionally, a successful attack through electronic means can also prove to be crucial threat for the privacy of the users.  Additionally, the visitors from outside of the State Capital are massively kept under surveillance to ensure the safety of the state as the state capital are the most prominent target for any terrorist attack. Hence, with the introduction of the digital identities, it will be easy for the authorities to monitor an individual, if they have not cited adequate attention their privacy security measures (Tropey, 2018). Especially, an individual from a specific religion on their visit to the state capital will be more at risk of privacy violation. Moreover, Australia lack a proper privacy protection and preservation law which makes it legal for the governing authorities to keep track and monitor any individual in the name of state security which risks the privacy of an individual from outside of state capital (Scholsberg, 2016).

The individuals who will use their mobiles to access their digital identities may also face some crucial privacy challenges in case their mobile gets stolen or reaches in the hand of individual(s) with notorious perception (Khan, Abbas & Al-Muhtadi, 2015). The above statement can be justified by the fact that due to the loss of digital identity the owner of the identity will have no means to prove that they have lost their identity because they are visiting out of their domain which will provide the malefactor ample of opportunity to misuse and violate the privacy of the owner (Aditya et al., 2015). Additionally, logging in to an unsecure network may also lead to risk of privacy violation through the digital identity.

Hence, it would be justified to state that the privacy risk from using the digital identity when visiting the state capital through the mobile phones or other smart devices depends on the application and use of the digital identity. If the user takes adequate attention towards keeping their mobile devices safe and not exposing their digital identities to any unsecure networks, then their privacy will not be violated (Mollah, Azad & Vasilakos, 2017). However, if the adverse is done then, the results may risk the privacy as well as the security of the owner at risk which is undesirable for the digital identity owner.

Digital Identity

The discussion above can be summarised to state that there are challenges associated with the digital identity in context to the privacy and hence they need to be mitigated. The discussed challenges can be mitigated by adopting disruptive tools and technologies that can be utilised to mitigate the challenges in discussion. The steps that can be of great assistance in securing the security and privacy of the digital identities have been discussed in the following points. Additionally, the enablers and constraints of the steps to secure the digital identity have also been discussed to make the solutions more reliable in nature.

  • Keep the mobile or other computing device associated with the digital identity inaccessible to others (Mayrhofer, 2015). The discussed measure could prove to be of great vitality and in the process offer its assistance in safekeeping of the privacy and security of the digital identities. The advantage of the discussed measure is that if the device associated with digital identity is inaccessible to others, then with a strong authentication pin or password no one can violate the privacy of the user (Leom, Choo & Hunt, 2016). On the contrary, keeping the mobile device inaccessible to known persons is difficult and problems can be further enhanced if the mobile is theft or lost which is a constraint for the discussed measure.
  • Having a strong authentication method is also one of the prominent methods to ensure that the security and privacy of the digital identity is at its peak. A two-step authentication, or OTP based authentication, or token based, or biometric and similar measures can ensure that the security and privacy of the digital identity owner is not violated (Jiang et al., 2015). The advantage of the discussed measure is that it makes it difficult for the cyber-criminals to access the controls of the digital identity of the owners. Additionally, if the password is a complex one then it is difficult for any trespasser to pass the security of the identity (Jarecki et al., 2016). However, the discussed measure is a constraining factor for the users who are blind or are not friendly with the technology. The low connectivity area can also prove to be of great challenge for the users and hence, the implementation of the discussed measure should be done with adequate attention.
  • Deployment of strong security software solutions can also ensure that the security and privacy of the digital identity and in the process of the individual is secure (Ko & Choo, 2015). Many tech giants such as Norton, Google and others are offering software solutions to ensure the safety of the mobile devices and the media or details that are associated with it. The prominent advantage of the discussed measure is that it protects the device from any trespassing physically as well as through electronic means (Sion et al., 2018). While, the constraints that prevents it from deployment is the lack of knowledge about the solution and the high cost that is associated with it. The high cost prevents the users from using it while the others are mostly aware of the technology and hence the avoidance.

References

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Aditya, P., Bhattacharjee, B., Druschel, P., Erdélyi, V., & Lentz, M. (2015). Brave new world: Privacy risks for mobile users. ACM SIGMOBILE Mobile Computing and Communications Review, 18(3), 49-54.

Arteaga, N. (2017). Mexico: Internal security, surveillance, and authoritarianism. Surveillance & Society, 15(3/4), 491.

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Golbeck, J. (2017, October). User concerns with personal routers used as public Wi-fi hotspots. In Ubiquitous Computing, Electronics and Mobile Communication Conference (UEMCON), 2017 IEEE 8th Annual (pp. 571-576). IEEE.

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