Published on 

“We need a smart approach to smart cities and Ireland has the opportunity to lead”

Minister Dara Murphy hosts event on smart cities and data privacy

The Minister for Data Protection, Dara Murphy T.D. will today host an event ‘Getting Smarter about Smart Cities: Smart city technologies and data privacy’, with the support of Cork City Council and Maynooth University. The event follows on from a report on the same topic for the Government Data Forum, published by Minister Murphy on Data Protection Day earlier this year.
Today’s event brings together key stakeholders from local government, civil society, academia and enterprise, with a focus on the implications of smart city technologies for data protection and privacy, the consideration of best practice, and the sharing of learning from Ireland’s smart cities.
Speakers at the event include Professor Lilian Edwards from the Centre for Internet Law and Policy at the University of Strathclyde, who will deliver the keynote address, and Professor Rob Kitchin from the Programmable City Project at Maynooth University, author of the report for the Government Data Forum. Speaking before the event, which takes place in Cork City Council’s Millennium Hall, Minister Murphy said:
“A number of our cities have adopted smart city strategies that seek to improve city services, foster economic development, and engage citizens and we now have a real opportunity in Ireland to show international leadership on smart cities and data protection. With the adoption by our cities of an approach to data privacy and security that best serves the interests of citizens, we will be able to fully harness the use of new technologies for the greater good. In short, we need a smart approach to make a success of smart cities.”

Professor Edwards said:

“Smart cities represent both a hopeful future for humanity but also a set of severe challenges to values such as privacy and human rights. Policymakers and regulators as well as industry must think about these issues right now if we are not to build 24/7 surveillance machines to live in.”

Professor Kitchin added:
“Smart city technologies seek to improve the delivery and management of city services by generating and acting on large volumes of data about people and places. They also come with risks with respect to privacy, data protection, and the hacking of city systems. A key question then is how to gain the promise of smart cities while minimizing its potential perils? A key finding of my report for the Government Data Forum is that the solution is not just technical, but also requires policy, governance and management responses. By being proactive, Irish cities can protect individual privacy and curb cybersecurity threats.”

Notes to Editors

1. The report Getting smarter about smart cities is available at the following link:

2. The Government Data Forum is a panel of experts drawn from across industry, civil society, academia and the public sector. The Forum advises Government on the opportunities and challenges for society and the economy arising from continued growth in the generation and use of personal data.