Conference paper Open Access

Public Sector Internet of Things Deployments: Value, Transparency, Risks and Challenges

Jacobs, Naomi; Edwards, Peter; Markovic, Milan; Caitlin D Cottrill; Karen Salt

Internet of Things (IoT) devices such as connected sensors are increasingly being used in the public sector, often deployed and collecting data in public spaces. While broadly perceived as beneficial by policy makers, such technology presents new challenges for governance. A theme commonly seen in the rhetoric surrounding public space IoT initiatives is empowerment. However, it is important to ask who is empowered and who benefits, and we must ensure that such technological interventions follow democratic principles and are trusted by citizens.

In this paper we describe work that utilises design fiction interventions in a community setting to explore questions of privacy, data management, risk and trust in relation to public space IoT deployments. Our findings suggest that agency, transparency and intent associated with IoT systems are key components that must be considered, particularly when multiple actors and stakeholders are involved.

We suggest that good governance requires consideration of these systems in their entirety, throughout the process, and in consultation with multiple stakeholders who are impacted, including the public. To achieve this effectively, we argue for transparency at the device and system level, which may require legislative change.

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