Smart Cities and Big Data: Boundless Opportunities?

08 December 2016 - A Workshop on Guadalajara,Mexico


Smart cities are the idea of setting-up interconnected systems to achieve a more optimal, efficient, safe & sustainable urban environment. The ultimate goal is said to benefits citizens and society more widely. Sectors that typically receive an injection of technology are health, traffic, public transport, security, water and electricity infrastructure, the waste management, etc. And for that urban citizen data –masses of data– are needed. That data is systematically collected, stored, analyzed and processed using selected software. And with the Internet of Things, it's no longer just communication devices but it's also home appliances, smart cars, and other types of sensors. This also involves the investment of huge amount of public funds, the strong involvement of the private sector, on which governments rely for delivery, which monetizes the development of technology and collection of big data to create smart cities. The vast quantity of data that amasses over long periods of time raises questions over the cost-benefit and risk analysis and the implication for the exercise of human rights.

Arguments for the use of big data are easy to buy, but the real impact is obscure and has yet to be demonstrated. Where do data sets come from? How do people provide consent given the smart city infrastructure does not seek it? What is the scope of big data in terms of transparency, privacy, security, accountability and even public education? These and many other questions are key to foster societies that are becoming increasingly connected to ensure that innovation does not come at the price of our human rights.


Ms. Alexandrine Pirlot de Corbion, Privacy International 

Speakers provisionally confirmed: 

Mr. Guilherme CANELA DE SOUSA, UNESCO office for the MERCOSUR 
Mr. Amber SINHA, Centre for Internet and Society (India)
Ms. Gemma GALDON CLAVELL, Eticas Research and Consulting & Universitat de Barcelona, Spain
Mr. Iván MANTILLA GAVIRIA, National Planning Department, Colombia
Mr. Niels TEN OEVER, IETF member
Ms. Jamila VENTURINI, FGV (Brazil)


Karisma Foundationa (Colombia)
Privacy International (UK)