Portland’s ‘smart-city’ ambition has privacy risks, ACLU says

“As we roll out smart-city technology and overall innovation we’re going to see an increased interest in Portland and, I believe, an improvement in the quality of life,” Jennings said.

But Portland’s embrace of the movement also is bringing new concerns to Maine about the potential for a surveillance state, where streetlights are able to watch and listen and gather data on its citizens.The American Civil Liberties Union of Maine is closely watching Portland’s rollout and reviewing the city’s internal documents about its smart-city project, which is so far the most ambitious among a growing number of smart-city initiatives around the state.

ACLU of Maine attorney Emma Bond said the city needs to have a more meaningful public discussion about what types of data the new technology will be collecting and how it will be used. The community also needs to know what additional surveillance measures could be added in the future.