Google will dominate the city in a project to turn public phones into free Wi-Fi stands

ByChris Ford

New York City tacklesLinkNYCThe project is to change the unused public telephone to the kiosk that provides Wi - Fi, and by July 2016 a total of 500 kiosks will be installed, and within a few years Will be expanded to 7500 pieces. There are many voices of approval for the project which can be said as the first step of Smart City, but on the other hand it is pointed out that the city may be controlled by only one big company "Google".

Google Is Transforming NYC's Payphones Into a 'Personalized Propaganda Engine' | Village Voice

In addition to functioning as a Wi-Fi spot, the kiosk also has a USB charger, and the mayor of New YorkBill Debrasio"This is the world's huge and fast network, and charging is free. One thing I know about New Yorkers is that they like totally charge free charge," he says, I explain the city's efforts.

It should be noted here that the network was not created by the city but a consortium of private companies called "City Bridge". For the consortium there is a "Qualcomm"" Control Group ", a consulting company of Technology & Design," Titan ", an advertising company, and so on.

Meanwhile, in 2015, Google launched a new company "Sidewalk Labs" to improve city life. And Sidewalk Labs announced that it will merge the two companies, Control Group and Titan, nine days after its establishment, to establish a new company "Intersection". In other words, LinkNYC which the mayor introduces as "city initiatives" is ultimately under the control of Google.

Although the "Commercial use of personal identifiable data" is forbidden in the contract of the LinkNYC project, in reality, the kiosk not only provides Wi - Fi but also how people are moving around, We are collecting what kind of noise is being generated and the state of the atmosphere etc, and from the viewpoint of privacy, many experts are concerned. It is necessary to join the service in order to use the kiosk which provides high-speed Internet, but once you subscribe to the service and register the information, you can connect to the kiosk's Wi-Fi so that users can be located wherever you are It is grasped.

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On the other hand, there is another concern from the viewpoint of privacy.Village VoiceThe goal of Sidewalk Labs, which has been clarified as the interview goes forward, is to establish a computerized traffic management system in each area, and if this momentum expands, public works will be deprived by Google and the city It is pointed out that there is a danger of becoming dependent on Google's technology.

Google's attempt at the time of writing is limited to New York City, but if the project succeeds, Google should go through similar suggestions for other cities and countries. In fact, according to Dan Doctrov, who was vice mayor of economic development in New York City by Michael Bloomberg, former mayor of Bloomberg, said, "LinkNYC is the first step to expand service to other cities "The construction of the network will function as the foundation of the smart application that we will develop in the future, and further services and products will be developed as well.

In Google, as a private company, what we ask is "revenue". Most of Google's revenue is advertising revenue and often has been sentenced to fine in the United States and Europe as "infringing privacy" regarding information gathering to display better advertisements to users. In response to this, in 2015, the Code of Conduct"Do not be Evil" is emphasized, "Do the Right Thing" is emphasized to obey the lawIt is about changing it. As a private company pursuing profits is concerned with the city in the way like the LinkNYC project, it is possible that it might become a form that sells the privacy of the citizen in exchange for money, and the "smart city" advocated by Google Many people disagree with the idea.

Google CEO Larry Page is concerned about Sidewalk Labs "It is quite different from Google's core business"I write it on Google+, Mr. Doctorov raises "advertisement income" as a way to raise profit on LinkNYC. A display mounted on a kiosk providing Wi-Fi is adapted to display advertisements adapted to the profile of people who are passers-by and who are users of the service, and "We collect personal information and generate revenue by advertisement You get the method which is not different from the old method of getting "to get it." However, since this effort is carried out not in individual PC's but in the entire city, there are people who are fearful of LinkNYC also by Sidewalk Labs engineers who develop.

In the past, there have been many things that Google has become a problem as a violation of people's privacy. Since 2008, Google is running the car "Google street view car" that takes pictures for use in street view, but in 2010 Google Street Viewer intercepts the communication contents of the wireless LAN in various parts of the world It was reported that there was a big report. Even this time, it seems that our engineers and others were opposed to gathering information.

It was discovered that Google Street View Car intercepted and kept communication contents of town's wireless LAN in various countries including Japan - GIGAZINE

According to Village Voice, City Bridge · Sidewalk Labs · New York City assumes "users will use abandoned e-mail addresses in using the service", and individual users are not specified even by using LinkNYC, data is anonymous It is thought that it is treated with. CityBridge also states that the use of information is restricted under the privacy policy.

However, with regard to the use of mobile terminals, it is unlikely that people care about privacy on a daily basis, and because there are many people who do not keep the application up-to-date, these anonymous information may be malicious The possibility of becoming non-anonymous by a user is also greatly considered. Furthermore, regarding CityBridge's privacy policy, they can promise that "we will discard sensitive information as soon as we get it," but without doing so we will keep holding good data and personal data "Paul Ohm, a law professor majoring in Internet privacy, said.

When CityBridge's proposal on LinkNYC was consulted in 2014, the lawyer'sRetisha JamesMr. said that this proposal is a citizen of New YorkCivil libertiesAs it may create a dangerous monopoly right to take away. Ultimately Congress accepted LinkNYC, but even though the LinkNYC project is being promoted, Mr. James still said, "In the era of big data, governments and businesses will have great responsibility to protect the privacy of New Yorkers." I will.

In response to the interview of Village Voice, Jen Hensley, general manager of LinkNYC, said, "New York City and City Bridge have created the customer's first privacy policy and will not sell personal information, LinkNYC does not gather personal data that I browsed with, and I need legal procedures such as warrant when I share the collected data with New York City Police and Legal Organizations. " However, as long as the definitions of "personal data" and "personal information" in the above contents are not strictly defined, it can be interpreted in any way. Also, City Bridge's public relations "LinkNYC is the first attempt as a system of this kind, and the privacy policy is written before the network starts.The privacy policy is currently being reevaluated based on the actual situation Although it admits that the privacy policy does not completely cover the real situation, it seems that I want you to believe that the day will be updated someday.

Furthermore, regarding LinkNYC, other technology companies such as "Gimbal" which develops Bluetooth beacon are also involved. The Gimbal beacon is a short-range wireless device. When a smartphone with a dedicated application passes near the place where this beacon was placed, it records the date, time, position information of the terminal via Bluetooth, and information from the beacon side You can send it to your smartphone. By using these functions, it becomes possible for the owner of the mobile phone to track "when and where they were" in detail, and furthermore it is effective like "to deliver McDonald's advertisement to the user who dropped in near McDonald's" You can also make ad delivery method.

In 2014 Gimbal actually displayed Gimbal beacon on public telephone in the city and displayed advertisement, but the advertising company at this time is "Titan" which is one company absorbed by Sidewalk Labs.

It turned out that a large number of Bluetooth beacons were able to record who was at where and where on the public phone in the street - GIGAZINE

If Village Voice, which is publishing a newspaper, places a Bluetooth beacon in the red box to put a newspaper in the city in early 2016, will not it be possible to obtain tracking information? When contacting Gimbal, Gimbal said that there was a proposal saying "If you can share information on third party apps and brands with newspapers, discounts will be heard". The representative of Village Voice Business Division asks that "Does not using a box for advertising newspaper as an advertising platform break the city regulation?" Gimbal says, "It can be done within the constraints I will explain. Gimbal and its partners are smaller companies than Google and Facebook, but according to the CityBridge publicity Gimbal beacon is installed in the LinkNYC kiosk and it is normally off, but once you start it you can see the profit of the project It is said to function as a new way to gather.

Regarding the LinkNYC project, "It is not surprising that private enterprises move in search of profits, but it is also pointed out that the city gave the CityBridge privilege without guarantee that" the city will protect New York City. "

Of course, there are opinions that "It is safer to use a network involving major companies such as Google and Qualcomm than to use an Internet cafe that does not use antivirus software", but on the other hand, as an attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation One Lee Tien tells us, "When you do not pay for the item, you are yourself as a product," he says, "How they gather your information and how to make a profit , I always think. "Comment. In addition, people are providing information beyond imagination to Google, and by displaying advertisements based on this information, Google is involved in people's decision making without being aware of themselves, investors Linda Mr. Holliday advises.

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