Surveillance and ethical governance: A contextual approach to privacy in the deployment of smart city technologies

Wednesday, March 22nd 12:30-2pm

Cities worldwide are increasingly turning to AI-based surveillance technologies to achieve various public benefits, but they also raise important questions regarding privacy, accountability, and ethical governance. From CCTV cameras to environmental sensing systems, what does the use of smart technologies in urban environments entail? How does the adoption of such technologies complicate our conceptualization of privacy? How can we encourage meaningful public engagement and embed justice and accountability into these systems often criticized for their opacity? This workshop utilizes the principle of co-design to address these three questions regarding AI-based urban surveillance and ethical governance in the digital era.

We first present a series of images showcasing smart technologies currently deployed in various urban environments and ask participants to define the many meanings of privacy against the backdrop of urban surveillance. Given the context-specific nature of privacy as a social value, we then present one case study – a fictional vignette based on actual events – inviting participants to reflect upon and respond to different ethical issues in the use of surveillance technologies. The workshop focuses on encouraging participants to apply what they have learned in the session and provide critical comments and creative solutions to ethical dilemmas facing cities adopting smart technologies.


For additional information and to access the workshop cases, please download our resources packet here.