FICCI meet triggers debate on smart city security

Traditional laws will need to be replaced by modern police laws that recognize newer crimes of smart city

GN Bureau | August 28, 2015


#smart city   #cyber   #police   #security  

Smart city is not just about facilities but about is also about safety of the people. This week FICCI hosted ‘Homeland Security -2015’ conference on the theme ‘Safe & Smart Cities’ and triggered a debate on the needs of smart India.

As a key speaker, P Bhattacharya, the chairman of the parliamentary standing committee on home affairs, emphasized the need for caution in the development of ‘Smart Cities’. He apprehension was about creation of class divisions between perceived  smart citizens and other citizens debarred from availing of the facilities and opportunities of a ‘Smart City’.

Bhattacharya declared that there has been little pondering over the inclusiveness of different sections of society in a ‘Smart City’ and therefore it was imperative to ensure that ‘Smart City’ should not lead to withering of a common sense of belonging to the nation by creating isolated island of disintegrated cities.

Bhattacharya expressed concern over the future of the rural population who would need focused attention to increase production and productivity. “This must not be lost sight of,” he said and added the urban magnet should not leave the rural workforce to fend for themselves.

On ‘Smart Policing’ he said this may require not only comprehensive modernization of the structure and operation of police forces, but also flexible legal framework.

Traditional laws will need to be replaced by modern police laws that will recognize newer crimes and ensure appropriate focus on crimes related to cyber security like information and identity thefts, breach of data privacy and, hacking of websites and networks, he emphasized.

On the occasion the FICCI-EY report on S.M.A.R.T. policing for smart cities was released.

Giving expert advice, PV Rama Sastry, IGP, NIA, Ministry of Home Affairs, and Secretary, IPS Association, stated that peace and harmony were essential factors for sustaining the country’s economic growth. But security threats loom large and unless these are addressed there was a serious threat of derailing the growth engine.

Arbind Prasad, director aeneral, FICCI, said there are various kinds of security threats in Smart Cities, particularly cyber-attacks can bring the entire city structure to a standstill. One of the biggest concerns about smart cities is that the sensors in the equipment can be hacked and fed fake data, which could be used for all manner of mischief, like causing signal failures that shut down subways or allowing contaminants into the water supply.

In addition to new security concerns in Smart Cities, the traditional risks like that of assassinations, kidnappings, hijacking, bomb scares, etc. cannot be ruled out completely. Some of these have been potent threats to internal security in view of the deadly nature of terrorist attacks these days and that terrorist organisations are increasing resorting to use of new technologies to instill fear into the common citizen.

Urban terrorism seems to be the new modus operandi. There is therefore a need to look into urban security and particularly security of smart cities from a completely new perspective.

Vikas Aggarwal, Executive Director, EY, in his theme presentation, stated that Smart Cities’ need to address the challenges using Smart police force, which can prevent accidents, emergencies as well as crime. Smart police is a modern police that can relate to the citizens of a smart city and can also act efficiently using IT enablement.

Smart police should be capable of protecting the city’s physical and IT infrastructure. Minimum response time is expected from smart police in case of an emergency.

The police also needs to make efforts to recover the city from any major incident. In order to help citizens in all aspects, the police needs to be smart and agile.

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