This year's BOLD Cities kick-off meeting not only consisted of introducing the Centre's new research strategy, the meeting largely revolved around a special guest lecture. The BOLD Cities community was treated to this lecture by distinguished American professor Peter Swire, expert in cybersecurity and former advisor to the Clinton and Obama administrations. Swire has been a leading privacy and cyberlaw scholar, government leader, and practitioner since the rise of the Internet in the 1990s. He came to the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2013, where he is the Elizabeth and Tommy Holder Chair.
In his talk, Swire addressed the Internet of Things, looking into its advantages as well as the threats the development poses. "We can't assume that anonymous or anonymised information is really anonymous," Swire said. Big data, he claimed, makes it harder to keep data de-identified: "Research studies show how to re-identify anonymised data. The process of 'de-identification' can, in many cases, be reversed easily."
Swire also talked about law development, explaining how the GDPR regulations may aid the development of cybersecurity by limiting the possibilities for collecting personal data. "There are now many apparent limits on collection and use of sensor-based information in the city," he claimed.