It was inevitable. Last month the Drudge Report ran a story on smart city infrastructure company Intellistreets. The review was a bad one. The usual suspects were "big brother" and "big government." The attack wasn't subtle, but it was to be expected.
Watching this ABC television report on the Intellistreet technology does little to reduce the paranoia associated with ubiquitous computing's potential dark side. That voice... well, it is enough to make any clear-thinking person have second thoughts about intelligent cities. MESH Cities has given the issue of privacy a lot of thought over the years. We think that as with any new information-conveying system there will be people and groups who abuse it. However, over time (and how much time will be a good barometer of our democratic society's health) the systems will become a functioning part of our legal system with the same protections we expect from common-law decisions dating back to the Magna Carta.
Maybe this particular incident is more about the UI (user interface) of IntelliStreets system, and less about the long-term use of the system. What are your thoughts—Big Brother or Smart City?