Local governments need to account for practical, technical and ethical considerations when using Internet of Things sensors and ‘edge technology’ (where processing happens on the devices rather than a central computer) in public spaces, and when managing proposals for installation and use of these technologies by other organisations or people. The recently launched P-PITEE project will use design methods to develop new policies for transparent and ethical deployment of secure Internet of Things sensors in public spaces.
This project is one of sixteen funded by The PETRAS National Centre of Excellence for IoT Systems Cybersecurity which supports collaboration and activities to tackle cybersecurity issues at the edge of the internet. P-PITEE is a collaboration between ImaginationLancaster, Lancaster City Council and the University of Aberdeen. Together, we will explore using participatory design methods such as walking workshops to engage with a variety of stakeholders including local SMEs, local residents, and community groups.
By partnering with a local council, this project will allow development of policy and guidance tools which can support the use of secure IoT sensors in public spaces, contributing to the wider work on design for policy being carried out by the Population and Policy Cluster. The project builds on work previously carried out as part of the TrustLens project , which was led by the University of Aberdeen. In that project, a proof-of-concept tool allowing organisations to understand the transparency of IoT systems was developed. The P-PITEE project will further develop this tool so it can be shared and used more widely. By using this transparency tool, councils can better understand how to govern data collection, use and sharing of data, considerations of data transfer vs edge processing, cybersecurity questions relating to data storage and sharing, and how all these concerns can impact on privacy.
The long-term goal is to enable local governments to effectively manage both their own use of such devices and proposals for installation and use by others, taking into account practical, technical and ethical considerations. Working with local SMEs, local residents, and community groups, the project will develop a new, robust policy for ethical use of IoT data in Lancaster, as well as research publications on interdisciplinary topics including design for technology policy and the ethical management and cybersecurity implications of public space IoT and associated data. The project also aims to deliver a fully implemented IoT Transparency Guidelines tool which can be used by organisations who are considering IoT deployments and wish to consider the transparency aspects and ethical data use.