March 31, 2020
CLCT is pleased to announce that the beginning of a new series of podcast episodes dealing with the topic of “smart cities” has been published on our website.
Beginning in Fall 2019, a small team of CLCT Research Fellows were given the task to research the way smart city technologies interact with the law. The research team—made up of Carl “Ott” Lindstrom (3L), Alexandra Pratt (3L), and Katherine Sorrell (2L)—found that the primary topics of discussion in this space relate to cybersecurity, data privacy, and liability. In an effort to understand what other legal challenges arise as a result of the proliferation of smart city technology, the team recruited additional Research Fellows to investigate legal issues and prepare material to be relayed on CLCT’s podcast, Exhibit AI, which focuses on the intersection of law, Artificial Intelligence (“AI”), and other emerging technologies.
The team identified multiple facets of the law as it relates to smart cities yet unexplored in popular literature. They used these areas of law to springboard critical discussion, which then formed the basis of this podcast series. The first three episode of the series introduce the legal landscape and begin a discussion about constitutional law.
What is a smart city?
A smart city is an urban space where public and private sensors and other technology are layered either on top of, or underneath, existing infrastructure. These sensors connect, via the internet, the various components to which the sensors are attached. The name for this interconnectedness of components is “the Internet of Things” (IoT). Through the IoT, sensors communicate with each other, and produce massive amounts of data. Ostensibly, this data can be used by local governments to optimize public services for citizens of the smart city.
There is no standard threshold of how many interconnected services make a city “smart.” It could be as simple as self-dimming street lamps when there are no passersby, or a bus system that announces how far the next bus is from a certain stop. These are “smart” technologies, and could be components of a smart city, even though they are relatively small and simple examples of communicative IoT technology.
For more information, and to listen to our podcast series, visit our website.
Special thank you to Professor Zick for his assistance with First Amendment doctrine, and Professor Bellin, for his assistance with Fourth Amendment doctrine. You may find their referenced scholarship on these subjects below:
Timothy Zick: Clouds, Cameras, and Computers: The First Amendment and Networked Public Places
Jeffrey Bellin: Fourth Amendment Textualism