Is Your Smart City Watching You? There’s an Icon for That

As surveillance technologies have become increasingly common in public spaces, measures of consent and transparency have struggled to keep up. On any given day, urban citizens encounter more traffic and security cameras, bike lane counters, card readers, Wi-Fi signals or door sensors than they could possibly be aware of, and most people don’t read the fine print in user agreements when they sign up for digital services.

To get the ball rolling on addressing this problem, urban innovation startup Sidewalk Labs has developed a set of standardized icons to be placed on physical signs to tell people when they’re being recognized, when their data is being collected and by whom, where the information is going, and other things about their technological environment.