Video

SMART CITY: privacy

Zeesy Powers

2019, 01:10 minutes, colour, English

TAPECODE 1030.27

Google is planning to build a smart city in Toronto through their sister company sidewalk labs. There is no option for residents or for visitors to opt out of urban data collection or safeguards for children, but there should be.

The SMART CITY series of PSAs provide a primer on the fundamentals of “smart cities”, an emerging and absolute form of technocapitalism. Revealing the highly political nature of these supposedly inevitable spaces, these short animations play with the futuristic goals laid out by global information monopolies and totalitarian states. These dreams come up against the realities of paywalls, abandonware and social inequality. The extreme complexity of issues at the intersection of technology, capitalism and society alienate us from the critical impacts they will have on our lives in the (rapidly approaching) future. Smart cities, as understood by those that seek to build them, combine the Neo-Liberal logic of capital-as-governance with authoritarian demands for total control facilitated by permanent and total surveillance. These spaces require corporate takeovers of the private and public spaces that are critical to functioning democratic systems.

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