Privacy Activists Sound Alarm on ’15-Minute Cities’ That Could Easily Allow for ‘Climate Lockdowns’

by Adan Salazar February 15th 2023, 1:04 pm

Skeptical privacy activists are picking apart urban architects’ plans to develop “15-minute cities,” claiming the supposedly convenient projects could allow social controllers to more easily impose medical or climate lockdowns.

A 15-minute city, or “15-minute neighborhood,” is defined by the Canadian city of Ottawa as:

“compact, well-connected places with a clustering of a diverse mix of land-uses; this includes a range of housing types, shops, services, local access to food, schools and day care facilities, employment, greenspaces, parks and pathways.”

“They are complete communities that support active transportation and transit, reduce car dependency, and enable people to live car-light or car free,” the description adds.

Activists are concerned 15-minute cities, also dubbed, “smart cities,” will not only discourage car use for residents, but eventually do away with the freedom to travel altogether.

Activists argue Wi-Fi hubs in the cities being built throughout the globe could easily track people via cell phone signals, and would be able to transmit health data and other information to governments.

Illustrating privacy issues with the projects, one activist showed how a park tracks visitors via Wi-Fi, and could easily single out a visitor via cell phone signals and facial recognition cameras.

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