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(en) France, Union Communiste Libertaire AL #303 - Digital, Smart-city: Big Brother beat (fr, it, pt)[machine translation]

Date Sun, 29 Mar 2020 09:22:25 +0300


Last September, UCL joined the campaign against "technopolice". Far from being an above-ground whim, here is a concrete example of the implementation of the safe city in Angers. ---- "Angers Intelligent Territory". ---- Great words that ultimately say nothing ! Or perhaps if, one thing: highlighting the nonsense of technological solutionism in the service of a political project. Recently, from France Inter to Courrier de l'Ouest , the media of all kinds have used superlatives to praise the choice made by Angers Loire Métropole to go to a group of industrialists, Engie at the head, the pretty pactole of 178 million d 'euros. A nice sum which should allow the territory to become "intelligent".
Suppose it has been stupid so far. But what does this intelligent territory cover if we blow on the curtain of media smoke? First of all, that the elected officials of the urban community have all given in to the sirens of the blah blah marketing surrounding the concept of smart-city. Indeed, if we take a look at what it covers, we see that for the Angevin case, it is more or less than replacing streetlights. We exaggerate a little, but not that much. What will they have in mind about these new candelabras ?

They will have the intelligence to go out when it is dark (sic). It should also be added that the agents in charge of installing, repairing, etc., street lamps are passed on to these manufacturers. A small flea market on the run from our public services. Smart, isn't it ?

Smart street lights and cameras
No, for us, it's rather silly ! A new break in public services for the benefit of a handful of capitalists and to the detriment of the very notion of general interest. Suffice to say that this is not very reassuring. There is not much missing in the end so that the future management of our municipal and inter-municipal services (garbage collection, management of water networks, etc.) is thrown into grazing ground by this group of private actors.

All of this is going to be watched - but in the meantime, we are going to be watched. Because in these promises of intelligence, there is the systematic use of video surveillance - already present in Angers, but which must therefore be reinforced. It is notably planned to install a hypervision center. What is it about ? To put it simply, a technological panopticon at the service of a stinking political ideal: trimming public liberties.

Because we have to be clear on the subject: the cameras will continue to push the better, like weeds. And if, for the moment, the magic expression "facial recognition" has not yet been really pronounced, it will not be long before it comes out of the hat. In fact, by choosing Engie, the community also made the choice to entrust the management of these cameras to a specialist in the matter. In short, all this is not pleasing and the argument engaging ecological promises is very clearly to be put into perspective.

The few euros saved with these low-consumption light bulbs will be tiny compared to the energy cost of the technical infrastructure to operate the video surveillance system.

In the meantime, a final question: would the municipal and inter-municipal services have not been able to carry out the expected infrastructural renovations ? Yes, because certain technological transformations could just as easily have been carried out without jeopardizing public freedoms and breaking public services.

Developments that we could imagine to be emancipatory and developed with the aim of giving back to the agents sense of their action and the mastery of their working tools. Collective intelligence at the service of the common is a political project that would have had a completely different face.

UCL Angers

https://www.unioncommunistelibertaire.org/?Smart-city-Big-Brother-beat
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