European “Smart City” Boundary Consciousness

The concepts of “smart cities” and “digital cities” built on the basis of data resources have become an important direction in recent years for some major cities in the world to promote the transformation of economic structures and the intelligentization of social governance. But at the same time, more and more attention has been paid to data acquisition and usage. In this regard, European countries have long formed a strong “technical ethics” idea, which has formed a regulatory concept for digital technology that balances application efficiency and privacy rules, thus forming an obvious border consciousness in the development of its “smart city”.

First of all, the European Union has always maintained a “ideological priority” attitude towards the digital economy and ICT. As the European Union increases investment in the data industry and policy planning, relevant concepts also provide guidance for its governance. In February this year, the European Commission issued the European Data Strategy, which proposed to shape the “European data space” on the basis of ensuring a fair, practical and clear data management mechanism for access and use of data rules, and proposed the establishment of a cross-sectoral data governance regulatory mechanism to Promote efficiency and compliance are fully guaranteed.

Secondly, the EU GDPR rules serve as a deterrent. In May 2018, the European Union passed the “Single Data Protection Regulation” (GDPR), which was called “the strictest data protection rule in history.” According to the regulations, personal data includes not only basic information such as name, address, phone number, bank account, but also health status, union participation, genetic information, religious beliefs, race, and even sexual orientation. At the same time, companies must obtain user consent before acquiring and collecting data, and inform users in clear and plain language of the purpose and types of data collection and use, whereabouts, and the identity of the person processing the data. After making changes to its information or understanding the requirements for the use of information, it must respond to user needs. This greatly enhances the user’s right to know and service transparency.

In fact, the EU’s corresponding regulatory rules are built on its “market power”, a single economic digital market with a population of 450 million. Unless digital companies are determined to abandon the EU market, they must fully accept GDPR regulation. At the same time, in order to enter the EU digital market or sign a free trade agreement with the EU, Japan, Colombia and other countries have also chosen to integrate their data regulation rules with the EU, which also shows the international influence of GDPR from another aspect.

Third, European countries generally pay attention to the “necessity” of data collection, that is, to obtain only the data that must be used for the services provided. For example, since 2016, Austria and other countries have punished Google on the grounds that Google collects user information through a map service to support its catering-related applications. As another example, the Dutch Data Protection Agency pointed out in this year’s evaluation of obtaining citizen’s location data for combating the epidemic that it is difficult for telecommunications companies to guarantee “complete anonymization” of user’s location data, and the technical difficulty for these companies to obtain consent from each user based on GDPR The agency has great reservations about the use of location information.

European cities such as Copenhagen, Vienna, Barcelona, ​​and London have earlier proposed the construction of “smart cities”, and so far they have been generally recognized in the application of new technologies and models. They have not broken through the boundaries set by countries and the EU.

Today, data-driven economic and social transformation has become a common trend in countries and major cities around the world. Although the situation in various countries and the development situation of the digital economy are very different, in the process of promoting the development of smart cities, data industries and artificial intelligence industries, if you want to establish a comprehensive, balanced and modern governance framework and governance system, data rights and applications “Boundary awareness” at the level must be an important consideration, and European practice efficiency and “technical ethics” may provide some reference.

US President Trump has recently signed an executive order, requesting restrictions on the exemption of social media content. The US media said that the executive order aims to amend Article 230 of the United States’ Act on Proper Conduct in Communication and Communication, which protects social media platforms from exempting users from postings, pictures, and videos. As soon as the executive order was issued, the American technology companies fought back. Twitter called it a “politicized” approach, Google said it would harm the US economy, and Facebook said the move put social media that allowed controversial speech at a disadvantage.

Although it is widely regarded as a counterattack on Twitter labeling its facts with “facts,” in order to “avoid suspicions,” Trump has specifically used the defense of freedom of speech. The incident revealed from the side that the political atmosphere facing large US social media is changing. In the last presidential election, social platforms and their communication methods were considered to have profoundly affected the electoral process and results. Candidates who were good at using social media, including Trump, benefited greatly from it. However, in recent years, American social media has faced increasing political pressure. At the level of foreign affairs, it has been accused of being a platform for external interference in the American political agenda. As implied in this presidential executive order, these media platforms are accused of exercising impartiality rather than impartiality, but are influenced by the platform’s own political position and ideological tendencies.

The entire process of inducing a presidential executive order this time shows that Trump wants to use social media platforms in an almost unconstrained way to create emotions that are conducive to his own sentiment and turn them into political gains. However, there are clearly differences in their values ​​and political identity and the principles declared on Twitter and Facebook. Imagine if Hillary Clinton who invented the concept of “Internet freedom” entered the White House at this time, then Twitter and Facebook are more likely to become Washington’s “appointed” US foreign policy tools rather than the objects of the presidential executive order. .

But this time the executive order did say that it was right for a problem that should have attracted attention in the United States: such users and super media platforms with global influence really need to solve the problem of effective regulation. This kind of super media platform has increasingly significant influence in real life, and its influence on the actual political process in the United States has also shown a significant upward trend. Laissez-faire is certainly not sustainable for the long term, but at the same time, regardless of whether the president or other US domestic political forces or ministries

If the door wants to monopolize the management authority that governs the spread of content in social media, it will also induce anxiety and anxiety among stakeholders and society.

In this sense, this presidential executive order reminds all walks of life in the United States that relevant parties should conduct a pragmatic and effective dialogue around the governance mechanism of content on social media platforms in a more responsible and constructive manner. It is also critical for platform owners, operators, managers and end users.