Why Is everything on this street texting me? The smart street in Bristol will see all and know about you in the #SurveillanceState.

posted Feb 2, 2013, 4:10 AM by Peter Joseph Moons

Comments by Peter Joseph Moons.

The city of Bristol, UK, will soon have its city infrastructure connected to the web.  Passersby will be able to send texts from their mobile devices to "Lamp posts, bus stops and post boxes" -- and they will text back.  What will these objects communicate?  Information about their services and cute responses at first.  Essentially, this technology will provide value to the public.  However, the possibility exists of extending the technology to monitoring who passes by, when, what texts are sent, and what information is communicated.  As well, the the infrastructure can be linked into a smart surveillance grid for monitoring people on the street, where, of course, their expectation of privacy does not exist.

The only way to not communicate with the infrastructure would be for the passerby to not text. Eventually, the passerby may want to turn off their device as the communication may occur unbeknownst to them.

Noteworthy is that there are business applications to this technology, wherein storefronts can communicate with potential patrons.  Or in another example, zoo visitors can text to animal exhibits or text with plants in a botanical garden.


Potential Control Grade: 7. 

Freedom Grade: 3.