Over the past 3 years Harris County’s Commissioners Court has been entering into data agreements with large consulting groups, nonprofits, American Institute of Research, the Brennan Law Center, and the Vera Institute (these are just a few that I can name off the top of my head)
What are these data agreements really being used for? Smart Cities?
What is crucial for these “smart cities” is data mining. Data mining helps predict future events amongst many other things. Though, the people in charge of using this data have been cherry-picking the data to help build a strong case for their policies, This seems like data manupulation, doesn’t it?
Most recently these IKE Smart City Kiosks have been popping up over the city of Houston. You can read the press release here Interestingly, the Kiosks come to no charge to the city (allegedly) so what are these Kiosks getting in return?
Are there cameras in these kiosks?
Ike Smart City is owned by Orange Barrell Media:
Since our founding in 2004, OBM has been committed to pursuing a community-oriented model of outdoor media that integrates art, community content, and advertising. OBM has grown by helping to design a better business model for the public, allowing cities to participate directly through public-private partnerships that create recurring revenue to fund community investment and support for the arts, and by recognizing that our work needs to enhance rather than detract from the character of the cities in which we work.
Many projects seek to unite signature architecture and art, and OBM regularly partners with leading contemporary artists, architects, and institutions to develop projects that challenge the formal and aesthetic conventions of signage. OBM is the preferred partner of cities seeking to develop durable and recurring revenue streams on city assets, operating signage on and about convention centers, performing arts complexes, parking structures, and in the right-of-way with our smart city kiosk platform, IKE.
We work closely with cities in the creation and reformation of signage code and other land use regulations and are the leading operator of signage in special use “Districts,” including the Atlanta Arts and Entertainment District, Denver Theatre District, in Washington, DC, Boston, and many more.
Why are these kiosks going up all over our city when our infrastructure is falling apart?
I found an article from Berkeley CA of all places, listing citizen concerns about privacy, data mining, and the lack of transparency from city council that was racing to Welcome these FREE monsters to their sidewalks. Yes there are cameras. They can record people walking by “anonymously” in addition to the Photo Booth option for people to snap a shot of themselves and send to their own phone. Supposedly the city can “turn them off” but that sounds rather as honest as imagining that all the smart home devices and phones are not always listening... . Why aggregate data, when you can simply mine it? And sell it.
This is part of them becoming a smart city. Also, the mayor, the corrupt mayor of Houston is part of a group of Democrat mayors that are trying to not only create smart cities will track your every move but also 15 minutes cities you will work play worship do whatever you need to do within 15 minutes of your home. That way you will not need your own transportation or public transportation. Everything they do has an underlying goal remember that
My questions for councilpeople and Mayor and anyone else who approved this project:
1. What other companies providing services like this did you consider? Did you examine the back side of “free”? Nothing is ever “freely free” - so how does this company claim to make revenues? If the city receives funding from ike or the media company, where will those monies go? Who accounts for them?
2. How will you, the City of Houston, protect users or NON-users (mere passersyby who have no intent to use the kiosk) from hacking, from invasions of privacy? Have you done your due diligence on the potential harms to everyday Houstonians and visitors to our city? Or are you so blinded by shiny convenience and ad revenue that you are happy to claim “we had no idea...”.
3. How will you determine or regulate ad content and what will you do if community members or residents find ads to be offensive?
4. These overly bright screens add to the “light pollution” already collectively ruining the city of Houston’s view of night skies and stars. Will you demand that screens go dark after a certain time of day? Or are you content to pollute?
I saw a bunch of these at City Centre pushing getting the jab! Every one of them! Propanganda by Pfizer!
When motivations are unclear, look at the outcomes.