Our cities are in a rapid process of becoming smarter, increasingly making use of advanced technological systems that gather, process and use data about its residents and its infrastructures. Cities that enter this new brave world lack sufficient guidance on the meaning of deploying technological systems. The underlying premises of this research are that Smart cities are an inevitable process; that Information Systems are the backbone of Smart Cities and that cities are new to this cyber reality. Hence, focusing on Smart Cities Cyber Security (SCCS) is crucial to their functionality, safety, democracy and livability. Accordingly, the challenge is to develop Smart Cities that enjoy the benefits of Big Data while avoiding its pitfalls, namely, among other things, being sensitive to privacy and cyber security attacks.
Accordingly, the key research questions are:
- What are the cyber-related aspects of the Smart City?
- What are the novel vulnerabilities to infrastructure and to residents introduced by the Smart City?
- What are the tools available to municipalities in addressing the SCCS challenges?
- How would the transition to Smart Cities likely affect the legal and political structures of the city and its relationship with its residents?
- How should cities address the vulnerability and prevent cyber-attacks and other risks to the data gathered in the city’s cyber systems and residents’ privacy?
Accordingly, the research project investigate SCCS from several interrelated dimensions: planning, technology, social policy, local government law, and privacy law, applying diverse research methods, and aiming to offer a multi-faceted toolkit for the optimal design of SCCS.
The research is based on a theoretical and empirical study. Several Israeli cities take a leading role in developing Smart City, making them ideal candidates for an initial research. The goal is to offer multi-faceted toolkit for optimal design of cyber systems for smart cities in Israel. This is a broad goal, and it is impossible to cover all aspects of SCCS in a single project. Hence, we focus on four interrelated dimensions, which are cornerstones (though not necessarily exclusively so) of a viable SCCS: planning, technology, local governance, and privacy.
The analysis is conducted separately and jointly, so to explore the intersections between these dimensions. The research will develop: (1) a set of tools for policy-makers and municipalities in the process of developing the smart city. The SCCS toolkit will mirror the multi-disciplinary challenges posed by Smart Cities, providing tools to various decision-makers, i.e., planners, IT professionals, and security experts; (2) an integrative model that will serve as a basis for developing a comprehensive policy that discusses each of the four topics. This model will need to be tailored to fit the particular needs of a given city and will serve as a basis for technologies that protect the privacy and security of the city’s citizens.