Series: Array of Things

I follow the promises, plans and pitfalls of Chicago’s innovative Array of Things sensor network, which officials said was for research and privacy experts suspected could be used for more.

April 14, 2016 Array of Things sensor network to be installed in Loop this summer →

Sensors collecting temperature, light, traffic and other data will start rolling out in Chicago this summer, Chicago’s chief information officer said Thursday at a Chicago Loop Alliance event.

Part of a project called Array of Things, the sensors are designed to track information that can be used by citizens and scientists to examine and improve city life. Fifty devices embedded with multiple sensors will be mounted on traffic poles and buildings in the Loop and another neighborhood that is yet to be chosen.

June 10, 2016 City seeks input on privacy policy for Array of Things sensor network →

The city of Chicago will release the privacy policy for its upcoming sensor network, known as the Array of Things, on Monday, city officials said.

Privacy has been a top concern of citizens and experts since the project was announced. Some 500 sensors will be installed around the city by the end of 2018, tracking information on urban conditions. The first 42 sensors will be mounted this summer on traffic poles and buildings in the Loop and other neighborhoods.

June 20, 2016 City needs more detail in Array of Things privacy policy, experts say →

The city of Chicago is preparing to install a network of sensors that will track people on city streets — walking, biking, driving — and privacy experts say it needs to better spell out how it will use that information.

The nine-page privacy policy includes just a few paragraphs on how the data will be collected, used and shared.

July 18, 2016 AT&T to power Array of Things sensor network →

AT&T will provide internet access for Chicago’s upcoming Array of Things sensor network, the company said.

Five hundred nodes that will include technology to collect environmental, pedestrian and traffic data are set to go up around Chicago by 2018. AT&T’s cellular data service will allow them to transmit information to research partners.

August 19, 2016 Array of Things sensor policy leaves law-enforcement question open →

Chicago’s Array of Things sensor network has approved a privacy policy that leaves one big question open: how the city would deal with law-enforcement requests for data gathered by the program.

The first wave of up to 50 nodes containing low-resolution cameras and microphones as well as other sensors will start going up around the city by late summer, said Brenna Berman, commissioner of the Department of Innovation and Technology and the city’s chief innovation officer. The city initially targeted late July.

August 29, 2016 First Array of Things sensors installed on Chicago streets →

The first of a network of data-collecting sensors that could one day blanket Chicago are now live.

The city installed two nodes containing computers and sensors including low-resolution cameras as well as air quality sensors last week. They went up on traffic light poles at Damen and Archer avenues in the McKinley Park neighborhood on the Southwest Side and Damen and Cermak Road in the Heart of Chicago on the Lower West Side. The installation marks the launch of the Array of Things project, which was conceived in 2012 and originally slated to start in mid-2014.

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