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Grenoble offers Solutions for the Privacy of Smart City Data

Since a crucial part of Smart City technologies and solutions is based on the collection and interpretation of vast amounts of data, achieving this while protecting data privacy, which is an increasing concern, has become a major challenge.

The historical city of Grenoble, in southeastern France, is offering a potential solution.

Grenoble is embarking on an ambitious long-term smart city vision, following a 30-year plan which focuses on improving quality of life, reducing its carbon footprint through sustainability, and social inclusion for all citizens, and encompasses technologies and solutions for every aspect of urban life, including street lighting and other utilities, to smart public housing, connected autonomous vehicles (CAVs), agriculture, and more.

These solutions will require gathering a great volume of critical data, and they will also require a considerable financial investment. Monetizing the gathered data can offer a great way to fund this ambitious initiative, but this comes with considerable privacy concerns.

Grenoble’ s approach to monetizing data while ensuring data protection and citizens’ right to privacy features an approach called “self-data.’ This is based on the use of edge computing, which in contrast to cloud computing, processes data locally, at the device. City-gathered personal data, such as library book accounts, school meal plans, electric power consumption, can be stored in edge-server “silos’ where it can be used only intended purposes. Use of the data outside its intended purpose requires permission by the citizen, granted through a smartphone-based app that is secure.

This way, data can be crowdsourced from both home sensors and mobile devices by using a hybrid approach with a pay model that also gives the citizen the option of sharing data on a case-by-case basis. This essentially leaves the decision to share data directly to the citizen. This approach can provide valuable data to companies, with users’ permission, while protecting data privacy, compared to the ethical risk posed by companies having unrestricted access to data stored on the cloud.

The original article can be found in 3DInCites.