The recent development of Chinese “smart cities” has captured the attention of international governments and media outlets alike. Communities all over China are being infused with cutting-edge technology that extracts and analyses data to maximize urban livability and efficiency.
But information about a population and its habits are not just being used by urban planners. Smart cities are doubling as an arm of the Chinese Communist Party’s surveillance state, tracking citizens’ every step and enabling the implementation of Orwellian social credit systems.
Now, smart cities are spreading beyond China. The first Western iteration of this technology lies in Australia’s remote Northern Territory. An unassuming community of about 100,000, the city of Darwin has been unexpectedly transformed into a cutting-edge “smart” city, likened to something out of the Netflix show ‘Black Mirror.’ What is the impact of these “smart cities” on the freedom, privacy, and liberty of Darwin’s unwitting inhabitants?
A utopian plan for Darwin
Between February 2018 and May