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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.

Use of Smart Sensors and Cameras for Public Surveillance

The advancement of technology has created more opportunities for individuals and businesses. It has become easier for people to connect with each other overseas and expand their business in foreign markets. Popularity of social media sites has made it easier for people to share their personal life with the rest of the world. The government also uses modern technologies to provide effective services to people and improve security in the country. As per Kshetri (2013), the government in places such as Singapore and Hong Kong uses modern technology such as smart sensor network and smart Wi-Fi network to increase security and provide better services to people. However, the popularity of these technologies increases the risk of privacy and security of people because it is relatively easy for the government to access the private data of individuals without their knowledge. For security purposes, the government breaches privacy of people by accessing and collecting their private data. The importance of information ethics is growing as it is becoming easier for organisations to collect and mine people’s private data. Information ethics provides a link between ethical and moral standards with collection, organising and use of information (Quinn, 2014). This report will evaluate the information security and privacy issues by evaluation four questions relating to use of modern technologies by the government for providing better services to people. This report will analyse the ethical implications of each technology face by people and provide recommendations for individuals to improve their security while using their mobile phones.

The government of Singapore has implemented an initiative called ‘Smart Nation’ in which they use technology to enable people to live meaningful and fulfilled lives. The government harness the power of data, info-comm and networks technology to improve people’s lives, build a closer community and create economic opportunities (Kitchin, 2014). The smart nation initiative is supported by not only the government but other entities as well such as businesses, agencies, and citizens. The Australian State Government is inspired by the ‘Smart Nation Plan’ of Singapore Government and wanted to implement its own Smart State Plan. Under this plan, the government wanted to install smart sensors and cameras at various places such as bus stops, traffic lights, rubbish bins and other to monitor the behaviour of individuals and address the issue of street crimes. Although, there are a number of benefits of this initiative, however, there are various security, privacy and ethical issues associated with it which adversely affect various parties.

Smart WiFi Network: Risks and Benefits

While implementing the Smart Nation Plan, it is necessary that urban planners must consider the risks and benefits of smart city sensor programs. In past few years, planners have started realising that this technology has the potential to solve various intransigent problems by monitoring people and collecting their personal data. However, it is important to realise the sensor network systems are not without risks and there are several key issues associated with the technology (Neirotti, De Marco, Cagliano, Mangano & Scorrano, 2014). The technology has the ability to collect continuous flow of private data of people, and the data is collected by public agencies which mean that federal or local public agencies can request them. Thus, it is important to ensure that the data collected by using smart city sensors are not used for tracking or targeting individuals or groups in a way which results in challenging the privacy of those people.

The Australian Government wanted to address the issue of street crimes by using smart city sensor systems through which the government can monitor the activities of people through cameras and sensors and collect such data and use it to implement strategies. Following are different categories of people who will be affected by this decision.

  • Firstly, it will be difficult for people to cause nuisance and conduct crimes in the street. The government will be able to easily identify people who are causing crimes by monitor the cameras and sensors in such areas, and it will be easier for them to capture those people (Chourabi et al., 2012).
  • However, the privacy of many other people will be breached as well. For example, it will be easier for the government to collect private data of businessmen and government officials can misuse such information to gain an unfair advantage.
  • It will be easier for the government official or agencies to track and target people who are visiting any public place such as bus stops or train stations. The privacy of all people will be at the risk of violation, and government officials can misuse the data collected by them to gain an unfair advantage.

In Singapore, sensors and cameras are installed in places such as buses, taxis, public places, trains and others. These sensors and cameras are barely noticeable by the average citizen in Singapore, however, they know that they are there, and they are watching them all the time (Poon, 2017). Most people do not mind that the government collects their data because they think that it provides them with many benefits. For example, in the United States, people share their data with companies such as Google and Facebook for their services. However, people also know that they are constantly under the watch of the government and it is monitoring their every action. In case of Australia, people are open-minded, and they prioritise their privacy. They are less likely to support the decision of the government to install smart sensors through the city. Furthermore, after installation of smart sensors, people are less likely to enjoy themselves in public places, and they are more likely to resent their government for collecting their private data.

  • People are more likely to avoid public places and transportations, and they are more likely to pay extra in order to protect their privacy.
  • People are likely to avoid public transportation, and the number of private vehicles will increase.
  • Businesses operating in public areas are likely to suffer loss because people will avoid making purchases in front of cameras because they will feel like they are being judged (Perera, Zaslavsky, Christen & Georgakopoulos, 2014).
  • It will be easier for the government to violate the privacy of individuals by collecting and mining their personal data.
  • The government officials monitoring the system can take unfair advantage of their authority and breach the privacy of individuals.
  • It becomes easier for cybercriminals to collect large data about people by hacking in government’s servers, and they can also hack into specific sensors or cameras to violate people’s privacy (Hancke & Hancke Jr, 2012).

A smart city, along with its citizens, always remains connected to the internet in order to work properly. Different features of a smart city such as automated public services, digital identification, cashless payments and others require that people and organisations remain connected to the internet. Smart Wi-Fi Network service allows people to instantly and seamlessly connect to the nearest public Wi-Fi network which provides them blazing fast internet speed (Pan, Qi, Zhang, Li, Wu & Yang, 2013). People can access Wi-Fi through the city in places such as malls, train stations, bus stations, airports, buses, and other public areas. However, along with various benefits, the implementation of Smart Wi-Fi Network raises various ethical issues relating to privacy and security of individuals. The sensitive information of people who use public Wi-Fi can be accessed and collected by the government or cybercriminals. It raises various ethical and moral issues regarding whether the government should provide such facility to individuals which could result in violating their privacy.

Digital Identity: Risks and Benefits

There are various security and privacy concerns regarding use of public Wi-Fi for people. A ubiquitous Wi-Fi system increases the risk of data threat because people’s smartphone or other electronic decision will be seamlessly connected to public Wi-Fi and their private data can be accessed by cybercriminals (Ylipulli, Suopajarvi, Ojala, Kostakos & Kukka, 2014). It will be easier for the government as well as cyber criminals to track people and know their exact location. Devices which are always connected to public Wi-Fi are more prone to hacking. Hackers or government can illegally use the public data of people which are collected through public Wi-Fi.

Different categories of people will be affected by the proposal of a smart Wi-Fi network. Most people use smartphones, and it will be easier for them to connect to these Wi-Fi hotspots. Many children and young people use smartphones as well, and their privacy will be breached as well. Businessmen who use public Wi-Fi in cafés or public places are likely to leak confidential information about their business (Zygiaris, 2013).

People will always be connected to Wi-Fi, and they are less likely to indulge in social conversations with other people. Citizens are less likely to evaluate their surrounding environment, and they are more likely to waste their time on social media sites. It will be easier for cybercriminals to target and collect data from specific people because there will seamlessly shift between mobile network to public Wi-Fi (Kitchin, 2016).

  • The time spent on social media sites will be increased, and people are more likely to share their private data with the public.
  • The culture of live streaming and video chats will increase substantially.
  • Business opportunities will be increased for technology companies.
  • The vulnerability of data leakage and violation of privacy will increase since it would be easier for cybercriminals to gain access to private data of people. Thus, individuals are more likely to invest in software or hardware which protects their privacy such as antiviruses, VPN, Firewall and others (Yaqoob, Hashem, Mehmood, Gani, Mokhtar & Guizani, 2017).

The mobile phone of people contain sensitive information such as name, address, location, identification, account number, banking information, personal pictures and video, passwords and others. Cybercriminals can access and collect all this sensitive information by using an internet connection. Following are different risks associated with the Smart Wi-Fi network relating to the sensitive information of people in their mobile phones.

  • Cybercriminals can hack the public Wi-Fi after which they can collect all the data transmitted through such network which include private information, banking data and others (Cheng, Wang, Cheng, Mohapatra & Seneviratne, 2013).
  • It will increase the risk of data theft because people will store their data on public cloud which can be hacked by cybercriminals.
  • The government and cybercriminals will be able to monitor a person’s actions and track his/her exact location which breaches their privacy.

The digital identity is referred to the online identification of people or organisations. The concept of digital identification is proliferating with the popularity of internet and online based services. Many countries have implemented provisions to make digital identification of their citizens. The Australian government wanted to correctly identify and access information of people by using digital identification. However, there are various risks associated with use of digital identification. For instance, just like every other electronic device or server, cybercriminals can find a way to hack into the servers of the government which stores information about the digital identification of people (Grassi, Garcia & Fenton, 2017). Cybercriminals can get unauthorised access to the data of the government and collect information about the digital identification of a person which includes sensitive information such as name, address, gender, age, phone number, banking information and others.

With the advancement of technology, digital identification is advancing as well, and the government is storing biometrics data of people such as fingerprint, eye scan, and others. Based on such information, cybercriminals can impersonate such person to do illegal activities. Thus, use of digital identification raises various ethical and moral issues. For example, in May 2018, the Equifax hack exposed that the social security numbers of over 145.5 million people were hacked which raises the risk of identity theft (Horaczek, 2018). Similarly, ‘Aadhaar card’ information of citizen in India were leaked recently which can be accessed by anyone. People were able to access private information of other people such as name, permanent addresses, mobile number, and others (Whittaker, 2018). These incidents show that the use of digital identification poses various risks regarding the privacy and security of individuals.

If a person visits State capital after implementation of the Smart State Plan, then the risk of loss of digital identification will increase while using mobile phone during the visit. People visiting the place will be connected to blazing fast internet all the time by using public Wi-Fi hotspots. They will be seamlessly connected to the internet, and their private data will be stored in public clouds. Due to the seamless connection, any email, chat, or message which they receive during the visit will be at the risk of breach (Roman, Zhou & Lopez, 2013). In the Smart State Plan, people will be able to use their mobile phones to pay for things and use them as electronic identifications. Cybercriminals will be able to access all this information from people by hacking into their accounts, and they will be able to impersonate them or collect their personal data. Furthermore, biometric data of people such as fingerprint, eye scan or voice which is private information will be public after the leak of digital identification of people (Talari, Shafie-khah, Siano, Loia, Tommasetti & Catalao, 2017).

Moreover, the location of individuals will be leaked to cybercriminals due to sensors and cameras installed throughout the city. For example, according to the study of Ahuja & Kacheris (2017), the tech-savvy innovative hotels which offer facilities such as free Wi-Fi and check-in through digital identification are more vulnerable to data breaches. In Equifax hack, the digital identification data of over 100 million US citizens were leaked. It includes information such as 145.5 million social security numbers, 99 million addresses, 20.3 million phone numbers and 17.5 million driver’s licences (Horaczek, 2018). Moreover, in 2010, LifeLock’s CEO published its social security number on billboard and websites to show that hackers can not misuse it. After few times, his identity was stolen 13 times by cybercriminals to obtain loan, calling his wife, or recover unpaid debt (Zetter, 2010). These examples prove that it is difficult to maintain the privacy of individuals through smartphones after the implementation of the Smart State Plan.

Following are different steps which can be taken by individuals while using their mobile phones after implementation of the Smart State Plan to protect their digital identity.

In order to protect their digital identification, people are required to use unique and difficult passwords while performing any online activity or using their smartphone. They should also use separate password for separate websites and services. Furthermore, individuals should continuously change their passwords to keep themselves protected from cyber-attacks (Mylonas, Kastania & Gritzalis, 2013).

Advantages

  • Relatively easy process
  • No extra cost required

Disadvantages

  • Difficult for people to remember passwords for different websites and services
  • People are lazy, and they avoid changing their passwords continuously
  • Increases the risk of forgetting of password

While using mobile phones and surfing the web, people should use antivirus applications to protect themselves from malware which can hack into their data. The use of antivirus applications can also avoid unauthorised access of third parties in the smartphone which protect the digital identity of the owner (Sipior, Ward & Volonino, 2014).

Advantages

  • It is simple to use an antivirus application
  • Automatic protection from malware

Disadvantages

  • Good antivirus applications are relatively expensive
  • They did not provide guaranteed protection from hacks

While using mobile phones, people should avoid saving sensitive information on their smartphones. They should rather use physical documents to save their information which protects their data from unauthorised access (Chin, Felt, Sekar & Wagner, 2012).

Advantages

  • High security from cyber attacks
  • Protection of digital identification

Disadvantages

  • Difficult to store information on physical documents when the whole country is going paperless and using digital services
  • It is difficult to carry all documents all the time, whereas, it is possible in a mobile phone

Individuals should change their smartphone settings to ensure that they did not automatically connect to public Wi-Fi hotspots. They should avoid connecting to public Wi-Fi networks and use only secured and private hotspots. Individuals should also avoid using public Wi-Fi while performing banking activities, using social media or accessing private information (Jones & Chin, 2015).

Advantages

  • Assist in avoiding the risk of hacking through public cloud
  • Protect people from third party unauthorised access

Disadvantages

  • Difficult to avoid public Wi-Fi when charges of mobile network are high
  • Private information can still be accessed through mobile networks

Conclusion

In conclusion, the popularity of the concept of the smart city is growing between countries and the government focuses on using technology to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of operations. However, along with various advantages, there are numerous disadvantages of the smart connected system as well relating to the privacy and security of individuals. While using smart sensors throughout the country, the behaviour of people will change, and they are more likely to resist such change in order to protect their privacy. The government and cybercriminals can misuse and hack into these sensors to collect personal data from people and monitor their performance. In the case of public Wi-Fi hotspots, cybercriminals can hack the transmission of data to collect sensitive data from people, and they can gain unauthorised access to their private information. Furthermore, the use of digital identity also increases the risk of data theft and impersonation of identity by cybercriminals. People can take various actions to protect their privacy after implementation of the Smart State Plan such as the use of antiviruses, strong passwords, avoiding public Wi-Fi and minimising the amount of sensitive information on the mobile phone. Thus, along with advantages, there are many risks associated with technology as well which adversely affect the privacy and security of individuals.

References

Ahuja, S. & Kacheris, M. (2017). Tech-Savvy Innovative Hotels Are More Vulnerable to Data Breaches. Retrieved from https://hospitalitytech.com/tech-savvy-innovative-hotels-are-more-vulnerable-data-breaches

Cheng, N., Wang, X. O., Cheng, W., Mohapatra, P., & Seneviratne, A. (2013). Characterizing privacy leakage of public wifi networks for users on travel. INFOCOM, 2013 Proceedings IEEE, 2769-2777.

Chin, E., Felt, A. P., Sekar, V., & Wagner, D. (2012, July). Measuring user confidence in smartphone security and privacy. Proceedings of the Eighth Symposium on Usable Privacy and Security, 1.

Chourabi, H., Nam, T., Walker, S., Gil-Garcia, J. R., Mellouli, S., Nahon, K., ... & Scholl, H. J. (2012). Understanding smart cities: An integrative framework. System Science (HICSS), 2012 45th Hawaii International Conference, 2289-2297.

Grassi, P. A., Garcia, M. E., & Fenton, J. L. (2017). Digital identity guidelines. NIST Special Publication, 800, 63-73.

Hancke, G. P., & Hancke Jr, G. P. (2012). The role of advanced sensing in smart cities. Sensors, 13(1), 393-425.

Horaczek, S. (2018). Your social security number probably got leaked and that’s very, very bad. Retrieved from https://www.popsci.com/social-security-number-equifax-leak

Jones, B. H., & Chin, A. G. (2015). On the efficacy of smartphone security: A critical analysis of modifications in business students’ practices over time. International Journal of Information Management, 35(5), 561-571.

Kitchin, R. (2014). The real-time city? Big data and smart urbanism. GeoJournal, 79(1), 1-14.

Kitchin, R. (2016). The ethics of smart cities and urban science. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. A, 374(2083), 201.

Kshetri, N. (2013). Privacy and security issues in cloud computing: The role of institutions and institutional evolution. Telecommunications Policy, 37(4), 372-386.

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Neirotti, P., De Marco, A., Cagliano, A. C., Mangano, G., & Scorrano, F. (2014). Current trends in Smart City initiatives: Some stylised facts. Cities, 38, 25-36.

Pan, G., Qi, G., Zhang, W., Li, S., Wu, Z., & Yang, L. T. (2013). Trace analysis and mining for smart cities: issues, methods, and applications. IEEE Communications Magazine, 51(6), 120-126.

Perera, C., Zaslavsky, A., Christen, P., & Georgakopoulos, D. (2014). Sensing as a service model for smart cities supported by internet of things. Transactions on Emerging Telecommunications Technologies, 25(1), 81-93.

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Quinn, M. (2014). Ethics for the information age. Boston, MA: Pearson.

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Sipior, J. C., Ward, B. T., & Volonino, L. (2014). Privacy concerns associated with smartphone use. Journal of Internet Commerce, 13(3-4), 177-193.

Talari, S., Shafie-khah, M., Siano, P., Loia, V., Tommasetti, A., & Catalao, J. P. (2017). A review of smart cities based on the internet of things concept. Energies, 10(4), 421.

Whittaker, Z. (2018). A new data leak hits Aadhaar, India's national ID database. Retrieved from https://www.zdnet.com/article/another-data-leak-hits-india-aadhaar-biometric-database/

Yaqoob, I., Hashem, I. A. T., Mehmood, Y., Gani, A., Mokhtar, S., & Guizani, S. (2017). Enabling communication technologies for smart cities. IEEE Communications Magazine, 55(1), 112-120.

Ylipulli, J., Suopajarvi, T., Ojala, T., Kostakos, V., & Kukka, H. (2014). Municipal WiFi and interactive displays: Appropriation of new technologies in public urban spaces. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 89, 145-160.

Zetter, K. (2010). LifeLock CEO's Identity Stolen 13 Times. Retrieved from https://www.wired.com/2010/05/lifelock-identity-theft/

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