The municipality of Eindhoven is setting up a sensor register of all sensors in the city. The first part of the pilot is in full swing and will be extended this autumn. The main goal of the municipality is to make the data collection more transparent and more interactive.
When you walk, cycle or drive through the city, your behaviour is measured by different sensors anyway. In Eindhoven, for example, there are sensors that measure traffic flows, but you can also find cameras, human counters and aggression meters. One sensor has a socially driven reason, while the other has more commercial objectives. The exact location of these sensors is often not known. Let alone that, as a citizen, you know who gets these data in your hands and what happens to them. The municipality of Eindhoven is working with the Kadaster(Land Registry) to change this.
The sensor register is therefore for everyone who lives or works in the city. You can use the register to find out what kind of sensors are in the city, what they measure and who owns the sensor and therefore the data. The data itself is not visible in the register. “This has to do with the fact that the municipality is not the owner of all the sensors”, explains Olha Bondarenko, strategic advisor to the municipality of Eindhoven. “The owners of the sensors can log on to the register. Often you will also find the contact details of the owner in the register so that citizens can easily retrieve data.”
The municipality wants to use the register to make the measurement of data in public spaces as transparent as possible. “The register allows people to contact the person who manages the sensors and collects the data quickly and easily,” explains Bondarenko. “Unfortunately, as local government, we do not yet have sufficient control over what happens with data.” The new privacy act, GDPR, sets strict requirements for the parties that collect and process personal data. The control of the implementation of this Act lies with the Autoriteit Persoonsgegevens(National Authority for Personal Data). “Nevertheless, we believe that people should have control over their own data and we are working on initiatives such as the sensor register to make this possible.”
On the other hand, there is also the privacy of the parties that control sensors. Their contact details can be found in the register. According to the municipality, this is in order to guarantee maximum transparency. “Because the sensor register is now only about the Stratumseind, not many parties are involved. An internal study is currently being conducted to see how this can be made privacy-proof if we want to extend it to the entire city or region.”
According to the municipality, there are various entrepreneurs and organisations that can make use of the sensor register, for example, shopkeepers and schools. Summa College itself has also started to find out what big data in education can mean and is currently still in the exploratory phase. Press officer Doortje Cornelissen indicates that they definitely want to do something with the data from the sensor register if that can help them.
The Stratumseind was the starting point of the pilot, but the municipality would like to expand the pilot in the future across the whole city. “The first step was to look at how we could map the sensors and what was needed for that,” explains Bondarenko. “This is how the good cooperation with the Kadaster came about.” Now the municipality wants to make the sensors more visible and above all more interactive, it is not yet clear in which form this will happen. “We may want to work with designers and design students to see how we can make people aware that sensors are collecting data on them. In addition, we are looking for ways to really let the public interact with the sensors,” says Bondarenko. The municipality is in close contact with designers for this purpose. “This way, we give the data that is collected, back to the people.”