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San Diego cuts off all streetlight sensors over aloofness concerns

  • Tech
  • Street light
  • Privacy
  • Surveillance
  • Legislation
  • COVID-19 pandemic

San Diego cuts off all streetlight sensors over aloofness concerns

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The City of San Diego has deactivated all sensor services, including cameras, on its 3,200 smart streetlights until a new authorization is in place administering the program.

“At this time, no data can be transmitted from the streetlights,” Gustavo Portela, a agent for the Mayor’s Office, told .

San Diego’s smart streetlight affairs was announced in 2017, in affiliation with GE Current, and touted as “the world’s better smart city IoT platform”. The sensor accession was part of a broader activity to advancement bags of streetlights to LED lighting. Through the initiative, more than 3,000 lights became part of the city’s data-gathering basement with the accession of CityIQ nodes, including cameras and sensors. Ubicquia acquired CityIQ and the arrangement from GE Current beforehand this year.

The total cost of the activity was about US$30 million, to be paid off over thirteen years through the energy accumulation from the lighting. The sensors made up about US$10 actor of the total, the city said.

As well as cost-savings, leaders aimed to use insights from the data captured to advance mobility, parking, public safety and to drive app-led innovation. However, the affairs has drawn ascent criticism over privacy and surveillance concerns. It sparked added altercation afresh apropos to San Diego police accessing video footage from streetlights to help solve crimes, including homicides, sexual assaults and fatal accidents, as well as abuse and annexation during protests.

Before acid off sensor services, “special and bound access to video/image data existed alone for the San Diego Police Department (SDPD),” Portela said. This allowed authorized cadre in SDPD to appeal access to specific video/images within a five-day period at the acumen of the Chief of Police for bent investigations. Raw video and image data have not been accessible to accepted city staff or any associates of the public, he said.

The city’s arrangement with Ubicquia asleep in June and the aggregation has turned the sensors off until a new deal is in place but it agreed to abide to fulfil police requests for video footage of austere or agitated incidents.

But cameras were also switched off beforehand this month, after a proposal to pass administration of the streetlight affairs over to the police was bound scrapped.

“Police have used smart streetlights to hold agitated abyss accountable. I abutment — and proposed — clear rules for this tech, but the City Council adjourned on legislation. They won’t accept funds after legislation, so there’s no choice but to turn them off until Council acts,” Mayor Kevin Faulconer tweeted.

He added: “My staff proposed a surveillance policy to the City Council nine months ago. Council still hasn’t adopted one. We’ve seen killers caught, innocent people exonerated, and crimes solved. I’m calling on the Council to vote on surveillance legislation and this tech arrangement ASAP.”

Where next?

City Council alone the initial draft policy, calling for a surveillance authorization to cover more types of technologies and to carry more weight than a policy.  The City Attorney advised the draft ordinance recently and requested added clarifications.

“The surveillance authorization is going through the legal review process. It will go to City Council for approval this fall,” said a agent for Council member Monica Montgomery Steppe, who is allotment the ordinances to adapt surveillance technology.

Ian Aaron, CEO of Ubicquia, told: “We are committed to alive with the City of San Diego to make the city smarter, safer and more connected, and we are in continuing chat with the city and city stakeholders to ensure the city’s needs are met.”

Making streetlights smart through the accession of sensors is a growing trend in the US and elsewhere. Northeast Group forecasts that US$1.4 billion will be invested in smart streetlighting in the US over the next decade, and US$600 actor in added smart city applications.

The bearings in San Diego also comes as several other cities are alpha to acquaint stronger blank of data-gathering technologies, decidedly in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has added debate about these systems, and in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Portland City Council recently unanimously voted to pass two ordinances that prohibit the use of facial acceptance technologies by both city departments and clandestine companies. In July, aggressive by accompanying initiatives in cities such as San Francisco, Boston and Helsinki, London announced it is developing an Emerging Technologies Charter – a set of belief that agenda innovations should meet if they are deployed in the capital.

Aaron said: “We accept that the surveillance and aloofness policy initiatives [San Diego] is alive to put in place with input from the community, City Council and the police will serve as a best convenance for cities of all sizes.

“Ubicquia is acutely proud of the work we are doing with more than 100 cities across the US and Latin America to make communities smarter, safer and more connected.” He did not specify which are using the CityIQ platform.

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Appear October 13, 2020 — 07:34 UTC

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