Chicago to Implement Street Pole Spy Boxes in the Name of ‘Safety’

by Julie Wilson – ‘Civic infrastructure’ disguised as artwork will collect ‘real-time’ data about city life

Planners from the Urban Center for Computation and Data, part of a joint initiative between the University of Chicago and Argonne National Laboratory, are implementing a project called “Array of things,” in which spy boxes disguised on light poles will collect data.

The project involves installing “curled metal fixtures,” or data-collecting-sensor boxes, throughout Michigan Avenue, a swanky part of Chicago. Funded by Argonne, the installed systems will count pedestrians “by observing cell phone traffic,” presumably via users’ Wi-Fi-network.

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