Discreet City: Protecting Privacy at Large Scale

School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, National Technical University of Athens


Recent advances in mobile communications, location/sensing technologies and data processing are boosting the deployment of context-aware services and smart spaces creation. This is reflected in urban environments by the smart-city vision, a city with advanced ICT and surveillance infrastructures offering to citizens a diversity of services. Nevertheless, privacy risks and threats ambush, since collection and process of large amount of personal data occur. Although technology enables the collection of data, its protection against abuse is left to data protection legislation. However, privacy and security requirements, other than being general and abstract terms to be regarded as legislature issues, should be brought down in the technological reality and carefully accounted for in devising technical solutions. In order to limit the disclosure and misuse of citizens' personal data, this report introduces a distributed unit of trust, as a mediating entity that manages, in a privacy respectful manner, the exchange of private data.


Available from: Dimitra I Kaklamani
Discreet City: Protecting Privacy at Large Scale
Discreet project Technical Report – TR-2006/05/29
Georgios V. Lioudakis, Sofia Kapellaki,
Eleftherios Koutsoloukas, Nikolaos L. Dellas,
Chrysa Papagianni, Christos Katsigiannis,
George N. Prezerakos,
Dimitra I. Kaklamani and Iakovos S. Venieris
National Technical University of Athens,
School of Electrical and Computer Engineering
9 Heroon Polytechniou str.,
15773, Athens, Greece
e-mail: {gelioud, sofiak, lefterisk, ndellas, chrysa, chkatsig, prezerak},,
Smart City,
Privacy Regulations,
Context aware
Surveillance and
Monitoring Systems,
Recent advances in mobile communications, location/sensing
technologies and data processing are boosting the deployment of
context-aware services and smart spaces creation. This is reflected in
urban environments by the smart-city vision, a city with advanced
ICT and surveillance infrastructures offering to citizens a diversity of
services. Nevertheless, privacy risks and threats ambush, since
collection and process of large amount of personal data occur.
Although technology enables the collection of data, its protection
against abuse is left to data protection legislation. However, privacy
and security requirements, other than being general and abstract
terms to be regarded as legislature issues, should be brought down in
the technological reality and carefully accounted for in devising
technical solutions. In order to limit the disclosure and misuse of
citizens’ personal data, this report introduces a distributed unit of
trust, as a mediating entity that manages, in a privacy respectful
manner, the exchange of private data.
Page 1
1. Introduction................................................................................................................................................. 3
2. Cities as Smart Environments.................................................................................................................... 5
3. Legal Aspects of Privacy............................................................................................................................. 7
4. Privacy threats and concerns ..................................................................................................................... 9
5. Proposed Framework................................................................................................................................ 10
5.A Requirements and design approach ................................................................................................... 10
5.B Technical approach............................................................................................................................ 12
6. Conclusion.................................................................................................................................................. 15
Acknowledgment................................................................................................................................................. 16
References ........................................................................................................................................................... 16
Page 2
The future scope of services provided in the context of cities with advanced IT infrastructure
is built on the vision of the smart city, a city mirroring for its citizens the community,
commerce, healthcare, government and entertainment activities into the electronic domain. A
smart city is built around a rich framework of online services which reflect the activities that
are available to a citizen in the real world. The different actors participating in this service
provision chain are the inhabitants or visitors of the city, suppliers and consumers of tangible
and intangible goods, municipal departments, schools, libraries, hospitals, transportation
organizations etc. Taking into consideration the diversity of actors it can be easily assumed
that users can enjoy a lot of different kind of services ranging from simple information
retrieval e.g. regarding social activities in the boundaries of the physical city, to e-government
and e-commerce type of services. The huge set of online services, specifically those that
concern sensitive social areas like healthcare, increases the flow of personal information
towards targets over which the citizen has no control. Even though the smart city vision has a
strong impact on the way that Information and Communication Technologies will affect the
citizen’s life style and day to day activity, it also has a strong impact on the citizen’s privacy
rights. More than a century after the first essay identifying that privacy, as a fundamental
human right, was endangered by technological advances [1], never before in history the
citizens have been more concerned about their personal privacy and the threats by emerging
technologies [2].
This heightened awareness for privacy issues is mainly due to the ubiquity, the invisibility
and the processing power of computation, communication and monitoring devices which
make up the distributed infrastructure of a smart city. With a densely populated world of
smart and intelligent but invisible devices, no single part of the citizens’ lives will by default
be able to seclude itself from digitization. The oncoming mass deployment of context-aware
and personalized services [3] and the advanced monitoring and surveillance techniques [4]
aiming at improving public safety demand, collect, store and process a large amount of
personal data. Moreover, Data Mining [5] which promises to efficiently discover valuable,
Page 3
non-obvious information from large databases is very vulnerable to misuse and may
compromise privacy by combining personal data from heterogeneous resources.
So far, the vague notion of privacy is situated in the realms of legal and social studies.
Nevertheless, all laws and legislation, as well as privacy codes require enforceability, the
origins of which may be twofold: self-regulation of the corresponding organizations and
industry that collect and process personal data, on the one hand, and deployment of the
technical means for enhancing privacy on the other. Self-regulation concerns the restriction of
practices according to fair information principles. However, it is often seen as a bothersome
bit of overhead, both economical and administrative, while monitoring and verification is
needed in order to be effective. Besides, there are numerous cases where privacy invasive
technologies are in practice opposed to well-stated privacy policies. Consequently, apart from
privacy protection by legislation and codes of conduct, the enforcement of legal requirements
by means of privacy enhancing technologies is very important. For that reason, the European
Commission, with its leading relevant Directive [6], encourages the development and use of
privacy enhancing technological measures as an essential complement to legal means.
In this technical report, the issue of privacy is examined through a combined prism, mixing
up law and engineering. The initial thoughts that provoked the proposed idea follow. There
are established regulations and related organizations. There are users/consumers that have
privacy related concerns. There are service providers that are obliged to follow regulations
and treat data in specific manner. But who guarantees for the latter? There is a huge gap
between the laws that are written on a piece of paper and an implemented solution that
ensures their application. Thus, an architectural idea is presented, derived from work-in-
progress within the IST DISCREET [7] project that tries to fill this gap by implementing the
regulations and offering a large scale solution ready to be applied. The main concept of the
introduced architecture is the development of a unit of trust, which acts as a privacy mediator
between users, networks, service providers, monitoring devices and authorities. This
mediating architecture protects and keeps the data separated for the provision of services or as
input from monitoring systems and ensures that only absolutely necessary information will be
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disseminated to certain targets. The proposed architecture adopts all the adequate security
mechanisms that may contribute to the safety of data. Moreover, it intermediates between
data sources and data collectors, comprising a transparent layer of trust and eliminating the
overhead for privacy protection that would otherwise be required.
The rest of this report is organized as follows: Section 2 introduces the smart city concept.
Section 3 provides some insights on the legal aspects of privacy and section 4 summarizes the
privacy concerns raised by the citizens of a smart city. In section 5, a middleware architecture
conceived on the basis of privacy legislation is proposed, aiming at providing privacy by
technical means. Section 6 concludes this work.
The notion of city and community exists for centuries. Currently - and as technology
advances - a new kind of city / community had emerged, the so-called info-city, with the goal
to facilitate the life of its dwellers and improve its quality. A new kind of virtual urbanization
recently has started to thrive [8]. As Ferguson et al state in [9] “…an information city…” can
be seen as “…a large Internet-based site offering a range of online services, including access
to social environments, community services, municipal information, and e-commerce to its
info-habitants...”. In an attempt to broaden this definition we make a step further and also
include context-aware, highly personalized services as well as monitoring and surveillance
ones, thus defining an advanced kind of info-city, a smart city. The perspective outlined here
is that of a city with advanced IT infrastructure and surveillance/sensor networks on top of
which a multiplicity of city related services is offered from/to a number of different actors.
We may divide the services offered in the context of a smart city in three different types;
Internet-based services offered by the city municipality, Internet-based services offered by 3rd
parties and services exploiting devices such as cameras, sensors and radio frequency
identification tags (RFIDs) [10]. E-government services may be offered through an Internet
portal simplifying thus bureaucracy procedures like certificates issuing. Moreover, special
public interfaces may be offered by the city portal fostering public participation and
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community discussions. The city may minimize the administrative overhead digitizing e-
procurement processes while it can provide advanced cultural and educative services like
electronic lending libraries, virtual museum tours and virtual lessons. All the above services
are offered in a way fully tailored to the user’s profile and context.
3rd party services follow the same provision pattern with the difference that they are not
under municipal management. The city portal acts as their entry point within the boundaries
of the info-city. Retail shops obtain their virtual space at the city e-mall, galleries are
exposing their exhibitions, special communities are provided with the opportunity to expand
their activities at a parallel virtual plane through dedicated e-spaces that can be easily
discovered and accessed. The same concept can be applied in the cases of collaborative
working and e-learning. The municipality may also provide the infrastructure for the
deployment of a inter-hospital medical information repository/system for the prompt retrieval
of relevant data when necessary. The city may provide the means for several other public
activities like entertainment or news. Again context and profile information is exploited for
service personalization.
The vast deployment of a network of cameras, sensors and RFID readers enables the
provision of services beyond the traditional Internet based ones. The camera surveillance
network can be seen as the means for ensuring citizens safety during their every day activities
in the city [11] or for traffic monitoring. RFIDs on the other hand can act as identification
means for entrance control in premises and public transportation means, user credentials
holders, toll payment etc. In addition it should be mentioned that valuable context related and
personalization information can be gathered through sensor devices and be exploited for the
customization of the aforementioned Internet based services.
However major issues emerge both from a social and technical point of view even from this
very short description of info/smart-cities. As an example we can mention questions such as
whether smart cities tend to estrange people, what is the quality level of the offered
information and services and whether they indeed meliorate users’ life or not. From a
technical point of view, public interfaces [12], tools and easy integration of services on top of
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smart-cities (backward compatibility and interoperability) are serious prerequisites for their
proper and evolvable operation. Last but not least, taking into consideration the vast amount
of private, personal and confidential information that is being circulated among parties in
such environments, privacy is an issue that needs to be addressed urgently.
Privacy is recognized as a fundamental human right by the Universal Declaration of Human
Rights of the United Nations [13]. It is protected by relevant legislation in all the democratic
countries throughout the world.
The first data protection act was adopted in 1970 by the West Germany state of Hesse [14],
firing the trend of adopting privacy legislation. The first influential text was the US Privacy
Act [15], adopted by the Congress in 1974. Nowadays, the European Directive 95/46/EC [6]
enforces a high standard of data protection and it is the most influential piece of privacy
legislation worldwide, affecting many countries outside Europe in enacting similar laws. The
Directive, in effect since 1998, requires all member states to implement legislation to protect
the right to privacy, with respect to the collection, processing, storage and transmission of
personal data. Among the objectives of the Directive is the free flow of personal data between
the European countries, as well as the restriction of personal data transfer only to countries
outside Europe that have enforced an appropriate level of data protection.
The Directive reflects fundamental principles, as codified by the Organization for Economic
Co-operation and Development, in 1980 [16]. This codification was a significant milestone,
as OECD principles lay out the basis for the protection of privacy. With respect to lawfulness
and fairness, personal data must be collected only for specified, explicit and legitimate
purposes and not further processed in a way incompatible with those purposes. Processing of
data should take place only if it is necessary and the data owner has unambiguously given its
consent, while, in every case, all the appropriate security safeguards must be provided.
Moreover, personal data should not be further retained or disclosed to third parties, except
with the knowledge and explicit consent of the data owner.
Page 7
Technological advances pave the way to relevant legislation to adopt new arrangements, for
conforming to the new reality. In Europe, the Directive 95/46/EC is particularized and
complemented with reference to the electronic communication sector by the Directive
2002/58/EC [17], which imposes explicit obligations on network and service providers to
protect the privacy of users’ communications. Furthermore, there is a number of official EU
Opinions, Working Documents and Studies that refer to technological advances, such as the
use of biometric features, high-tech surveillance mechanisms and RFIDs. Similarly, in the
U.S.A., the Computer Matching and Privacy Protection Act of 1988 [18] amended the
Privacy Act by adding certain protections for the subjects of Privacy Act whose records are
used in matching programs.
Data protection legislation worldwide, where available, naturally defines some exceptions,
exemptions and restrictions concerning the scope of the aforementioned principles. In the
general case, e.g. in Europe, for purposes of national security and defense, public security, the
prevention, investigation, detection and prosecution of crimes and other reasons of common
advantage, the collection and processing of personal data may be enforced by the authorities.
Lawful interception is currently a common denominator for all the regulatory frameworks for
the protection of privacy in electronic communications
Especially, the USA Patriot Act of 2001 [19], received to deter and punish terrorist acts in
the United States and around the world, to enhance law enforcement investigatory tools and
for other purposes, enables the authorization for increased surveillance, far surpassing
previously permitted incursions on personal privacy. The Patriot Act defines enhanced
surveillance procedures, relaxing the rules for intercepting wire, oral and electronic
communications and collecting personal data.
A frequent characteristic of privacy regulations is the definition of privacy authorities. To that
respect, the European Commission requires the establishment of public Independent
Supervisory Authorities at every Member State, in order to oversee the application of the
relevant regulation. These authorities are provided with investigative, intervention and
engagement in legal proceedings powers. Moreover, an independent Working Party with
Page 8
advisory status is formed, in order to opine to the Commission for every issue concerning data
protection. Similarly, in Canada, the Office of Privacy Commissioner is established, in order
to advocate for the privacy rights of Canadians. The Privacy Commissioner works
independently from any other part of the government to investigate complaints from
individuals with respect to the federal public sector and the private sector.
For the provision of the advanced services of a smart city, the collection and use of user
private information is ineluctable and, thus, privacy threats ambush and privacy concerns
arise. Ideally, a citizen of the smart city would want a system that preserves its anonymity and
guarantees security and confidentiality, while, at the same time, is able to exploit his
preferences so he can enjoy personalized service provision. Furthermore, the citizen accepts
surveillance as safety preservation means while at the same time he doesn’t desire the privacy
violation that occurs.
Surveys have proved that users consider service providers untrustworthy; inconvenience in
implementing privacy policies, the trend of outsourcing several services and business
procedures providing this way access to personal information to third parties and the
economical and administrative bridging of companies that leads to probable information
linking are the main reasons for this mistrust. Even for companies with good intentions, the
enforcement of privacy policies is sometimes quite difficult, since a large amount of privacy
violations happens by companies’ insiders.
The mass deployment of cameras and their increasing capabilities [11] along with sensors and
RFID tags constitute a severe threat to citizens’ privacy. These devices in combination with
the growing popularity of location-based services formulate an omnipresent web of tracking.
Moreover, a human-subject of surveillance is almost never notified about the fact of being
It is impossible for the individuals to control the fate of their personal data from the time that
Page 9
they are provided or collected; there are no guarantees about the duration of the retention, the
disclosure and the processing. The deficiency of technical means, ignorance, malicious
purposes, lack of monitoring and verification lead to limited enforcement of the law. In
addition, legislation defines several exceptions in data protection that without proper
handling may be exploited for personal data abuse. Moreover, the complexity of data flows
among involved actors as well as the fact that communication channels are not always secure
lead to data leakage at several levels, both social and technical.
Summing up, the flip side of providing advanced services and public safety infrastructures is
the potential invasion of privacy. Questions like who monitors all the different actors that
collect, store, have access and might misuse the private information, who controls the trust
levels of the actors participating in this chain of private data exchange, and who prevents the
data combination stemming from different sources that might reveal users’ private
information constitute serious concerns.
The issue of privacy responsibility distribution in the large scale context of a smart city is
discussed in this section together with a technical proposal for a privacy strengthening
middleware, which enables a city to be not only smart but also discreet. The proposed
framework extends the responsibilities of privacy authorities, who are offered with a software
tool to actively protect the citizens’ privacy. The requirements and design approach of this
privacy enhancing middleware is presented in subsection A, while a tentative architectural
design in subsection B.
5.A Requirements and design approach
Our proposed approach to a privacy protecting system takes the form of a thick middleware
layer which defines a secure domain for private information to flow and be processed inside.
The middleware’s main concern is to mediate between the sources and the consumers of
private information. Two fundamental definitions are required here; first of all what
Page 10
constitutes private information, in other words what should be protected by the middleware,
and second, a formal description of the privacy threats inside smart city contexts. These two
fundamental definitions are not an issue that could be answered by technical design alone but
they require the contribution of the relevant regulatory framework. The technical tools that
make up the design of a privacy protecting middleware are more or less common among
privacy protecting systems. They employ policy frameworks for advanced access control, they
encapsulate sensitive data inside cryptographic data structures and they apply common
security tools at the networking layer like encryption and firewalls. However existing systems
are lacking in two ways. First, in the formal conformance to privacy protecting legislation,
since existing systems take regulations into account but they have not been designed centered
around them. Second, existing systems lack in their scale; most of them cover only narrow
stripes of the complete privacy issue, like privacy during web surfing or restricted in the
context of a corporate intranet. However privacy handling at the small scale requires the self
regulation by means of restriction of practices according to fair information principles from
the service provider’s side alone. This also restricts the control that privacy authorities have
over the self-implemented privacy policies of individual providers. The intelligent city vision
requires a broader view on the issue of privacy with technical solutions that implement the
regulatory framework in the widest possible scale in order to protect citizen’s privacy both in
active (service provision) and passive (surveillance) use cases.
With these requirements in mind we anticipate a middleware comprised of a sophisticated
policy framework that will orchestrate a number of privacy components, each with individual
responsibilities with regard to specific privacy issues. The policy framework, which is
considered the heart and soul of the middleware provides an implementation of the regulatory
framework that describes what aspects of user privacy need protection. The actual policies
deployed inside it constitute a mapping between the legal conditions that flag a privacy
concern (a “trigger”) and the technical solution invocation that best offers a mitigation action
(a privacy component). User input into a service or recorded data transmission and storage is
first assessed by the policy framework for possible privacy risks which triggers privacy
components to enforce the privacy principles that regulations define. This approach covers
Page 11
the first requirement, the role of regulations, since the system’s design evolves around a
legislative-technical work that will translate regulations into triggers and privacy components
and express them in policy rules.
The scaling requirement on the other hand is not sufficiently satisfied by merely requiring a
distributed technical design approach, since scaling here refers to the broader issue of
distribution of responsibilities. A distributed privacy protecting middleware able to address
the broadest possible privacy concerns in a smart city requires components in user terminals,
service providers, network operators and private IT infrastructures. Even though each actor is
responsible for maintaining the middleware in its own infrastructure, the broader privacy
goals are only met if the middleware components cooperate across provider/operator
domains. The scaling requirement therefore refers to the establishment of trust between the
actors, between users and the provider’s or operator’s infrastructure, between providers and
operators, between operators. Trust here could only stem from a commonly accepted actor
that would take the responsibility of verifying that individual infrastructures implement the
regulatory directives as expected to ensure cross-domain privacy for citizens. In a smart city
environment this actor would be the city public authorities.
City Public
Privacy Ether
Figure 1. Privacy Ether
5.B Technical approach
Since privacy protection should work at many different layers at once, the privacy
Page 12
middleware should cover vertically a possible stack of service provision. The privacy
components are stacked according to their targeted layer of protection and they form a
security plane parallel to the normal service provision plane, figure 2(a) illustrates for a
hypothetical context aware service provision use case.
Figure 2. provision stacks and privacy plane
The regulatory policy framework is located at the application layer, and orchestrates common
privacy or security components. At the Network layer a Mix Network [20] component offers
anonymous network connections while encryption based on a PKI infrastructure at the
application layer and relevant encryption technologies on the network and transport layers
(e.g. IPSec, SSL) strengthens the protection of the transmitted data. The Identity Management
Component offers pseudonymity services to users, who are offered the capability of managing
the level of disclosure of their networking fingerprints, e.g. MAC and IP addresses by
utilizing anonymization and encryption services. Especially for context aware / personalized
services, where a lot of personal information is delivered to the service provider, quite a few
privacy considerations are raised since the service provider is not often a trusted entity. In
order to resolve the dilemma of anonymity vs. personalization, the proposed approach is to
inhibit sensitive information from escaping the protecting middleware’s domain and requiring
instead the service logic to migrate inside the protected domain and execute there. The
Service Broker component offers this capability. Candidate enabling technologies are Mobile
Page 13
Agents [21], enterprise scale service execution environments like J2EE [22] and web services
[23] frameworks.
Figure 2(b) sketches the corresponding stack for a hypothetical surveillance scenario. Again
the regulatory policy framework on the top application layer manages access to monitoring
data that are collected and stored at the underlying layers. The privacy components in this use
case are RFID scrambling devices, encrypted and distributed storage facilities for the
recorded data, and data filters that act on the stored data and reduce the possible inferred
private information from it (e.g. blurring people’s faces from a recorded video of a security
Figure 3 presents the layered components and their proposed interactions, in a typical
personalized, context-aware service provisioning scenario (a) and a typical surveillance
scenario (b).
Figure 3. Interaction between privacy components
With reference to figure 3(a), the required policy framework is incarnated inside the
middleware layer by the following components: a Policy Repository (PR) which accepts
policies enforcing regulatory directives from a Policy Management Tool (PMT); a Policy
Decision Point (PDP) [24], the middleware’s core that performs decision making based on
Page 14
input from the PR and the user, either in the form of application input or in the form of
defining a custom Privacy Level (PL); finally, a Policy Enforcing Point (PEP) [24] also
named Mediator since it manages all privacy related resources under the command of the
PDP. Personal information coming from the user (1a, 2a) is first processed by the PDP and is
forwarded inside the PEP-Service Broker compound component (3, 4). Service logic is
required to migrate where the information is (5), execute, possibly draw content (6a) and
provide user output (7), all within the middleware’s domain. Callbacks and service flow
transfers are possible, but all service blocks that process private data are required to migrate
inside the protecting domain, which ensures that information will not escape.
A quite similar approach is followed for the monitoring case, as illustrated in Figure 3(b). It
should be noted that the level of data filtering, i.e. the privacy level under which information
is provided to the application depends on the enforcement of the appropriate policy.
The recent technological advances in mobile networking, sensor networks, ubiquitous and
context-aware computing are reshaping citizens’ life, facilitating it and improving its quality.
However, they put citizens’ privacy at a serious risk, since they realize Ron Rivest’s “reversal
of defaults”: what was once private is now public; what once was hard to copy is now trivial
to duplicate; what was once easily forgotten is now stored for ever.
In this report, a framework for the protection of personal data within the context of a smart
city is provided. The concept behind the framework is the integration of all privacy-critical
functionality of the city’s advanced IT services into a thick, privacy-proof middleware layer,
conceived on the basis of legislation principles and deployed at city-scale by a municipal
privacy authority. This way, the privacy concerns and threats are appropriately addressed, for
all types of services.
The proposed framework minimizes citizen’s mistrust towards services and service providers.
Every piece of private information is filtered by the middleware, which undertakes the
Page 15
enforcement of privacy policies, eliminating the unauthorized access and misuse. The same
principle applies for data collected by sensor devices; moreover, when the case of sensoring is
surveillance, the citizen may be notified by an RFID that acts as a notification token.
By implementing the privacy principles formulated by the legislation, the proposed
architecture has full control on the lifecycle of personal data. Thus, it provides guarantees for
the purpose and the necessity of data collection and processing, the duration of their storage
and the disclosure, along with the security measures for the availability, integrity and
confidentiality of personal data. Furthermore, by applying the respective policies, it can
accurately handle the exemption cases of emergency situations, lawful interception and every
other case where - for the common welfare - personal data revealing must be enforced.
This work is partially supported by the European Union, in the framework of the FP6 IST
Project DISCREET. The authors would like to express their gratitude to the consortium, for
the fruitful discussions.
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Page 16
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Page 17
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    Preview · Article · Jan 1997 · Marquette law review
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Open Services Architecture and the design principles, based on Web-sevice and computational component models, is discussed. Business, consumers, municipalities, school and other such essential service providers would be connected to the users worldwide through open architecture. Capacity, costs and security concerns are the main factors which determine the number and type of services on offer and the number of registered users in the information cities. Yahoo, AOL and other such portals are developing big, all-access online pool of consumers, businesses and content provides, thus providing them a 24 hours trust-worhty interaction, cummunication and transaction environment.
    No preview · Article · Feb 2004 · Communications of the ACM
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: As a platform for community networks, information spaces using the city metaphor are being developed in worldwide. This paper compares the trials of digital cities. Four digital cities , those of America Online, Amsterdam, Helsinki and Kyoto, are introduced. It is interesting to note that each digital city has a different goal: to explore a vertical market, a public communication space, a next generation metropolitan network, and a social information infrastructure for the 21st century , respe ctively . Their different services, system architectures , and organizations result from the different goals. Digital cities will change together with the advance of computer and network technologies. No digital city can remain at its current status. This paper reviews those digital cities to have a better understanding of their current status and future.
    Full-text · Conference Paper · Jan 2000
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This paper describes systems that examine and react to an individual's changing context. Such systems can promote and mediate people's interactions with devices, computers, and other people, and they can help navigate unfamiliar places. We believe that a limited amount of information covering a person's proximate environment is most important for this form of computing since the interesting part of the world around us is what we can see, hear, and touch. In this paper we define context-aware computing, and describe four catagories of context-aware applications: proximate selection, automatic contextual reconfiguration, contextual information and commands, and contex-triggered actions. Instances of these application types have been prototyped on the PARCTAB, a wireless, palm-sized computer.
    Full-text · Conference Paper · Jan 1995
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Recent advances in computing, communication, and sensor technology are pushing the development of many new applications. This trend is especially evident in pervasive computing, sensor networks, and embedded systems. Smart cameras, one example of this innovation, are equipped with a high-performance onboard computing and communication infrastructure, combining video sensing, processing, and communications in a single embedded device. By providing access to many views through cooperation among individual cameras, networks of embedded cameras can potentially support more complex and challenging applications - including smart rooms, surveillance, tracking, and motion analysis - than a single camera. We designed our smart camera as a fully embedded system, focusing on power consumption, QoS management, and limited resources. The camera is a scalable, embedded, high-performance, multiprocessor platform consisting of a network processor and a variable number of digital signal processors (DSPs). Using the implemented software framework, our embedded cameras offer system-level services such as dynamic load distribution and task reconfiguration. In addition, we combined several smart cameras to form a distributed embedded surveillance system that supports cooperation and communication among cameras.
    Preview · Article · Feb 2006 · Computer
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