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ICEGOV 2022 – Workshop #7

Friday, 7 October 2022 | 14:00 - 17:00 | Tejo Room


Data, artificial intelligence and (broken) promises of Smart Cities: managing surveillance technologies

Many cities are increasingly turning to AI-based surveillance technologies to achieve a variety of public benefits, raising important questions regarding privacy, accountability, and ethical governance. From CCTV cameras to “smart” streetlights to environmental monitoring systems, what does using smart technologies in urban environments entail? How does the adoption of such technologies complicate our conceptualization of privacy? How can we encourage meaningful public engagement and embed justice and accountability into systems often criticized for their opacity? This workshop uses principles of co-design to address these three questions regarding AI-based urban surveillance and ethical governance in the digital era. It is based on extensive research into how various cities around the world use surveillance technologies.

Given the context-specific nature of privacy as a social value, we first invite participants to define the multifold meanings of privacy against the backdrop of urban surveillance. Using the theoretical framework of contextual integrity, we then ask participants to work in small groups to explore ethical issues in using surveillance technologies as represented in three fictional vignettes based on a series of actual events. Finally, participants will assess and generate creative solutions while working through an in-depth case study of one city using drone-based systems.

Objectives for the participants

  • Illuminate the multiple aspects of both surveillance technologies and privacy as they develop in city environments using more monitoring hardware and software analytics systems;
  • Engage the ethical issues surrounding the use of these systems;
  • Brainstorm and co-design alternative ways to safeguard citizen privacy while using monitoring systems for useful purposes;
  • Highlight public engagement strategies for designing best practices with surveillance technologies and to establish cooperative and open system designs;
  • Explore the appropriate contextual differences for using alternative monitoring systems and handling the data they generate.


Sharon Strover
The University of Texas at Austin
(United States)
Emily Woodward
The University of Texas at Austin
(United States)
Tiancheng Leo Cao
The University of Texas at Austin
(United States)