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Japanese Smart City Offers Residents Quake, Privacy Protection


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A passerby holding a smartphone walks past screens showing market indices outside a brokerage in Tokyo, Japan.

Digital tools launched in a Japanese smart city that can send disaster alerts to safeguard residents are part of an optional technology push aiming to overcome social and economic challenges, while also allaying privacy fears.

Credit: Issei Kato/Reuters

March 8 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Digital tools launched in a Japanese smart city that can send disaster alerts to safeguard residents are part of an optional technology push aiming to overcome social and economic challenges, while also allaying privacy fears.

The smartphone alerts were introduced in Aizuwakamatsu city, Fukushima prefecture, last week by consultancy firm Accenture, which has worked with researchers to revitalise the city using technology since a devastating earthquake in 2011.

Aizuwakamatsu residents can choose to subscribe to the digital services - a markedly different approach to the mandatory initiatives in other smart cities that have been held back by data privacy and surveillance concerns, said Shojiro Nakamura, co-lead of Accenture Innovation Center Fukushima.

"Opt-in is the fundamental approach in our smart city initiatives," he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

 

From Thomson Reuters Foundation News
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