Chicago's new street lamps will pack a sensor that tracks wind, sound volume, rain -- and your smartphone's Wi-Fi signal.
The new street lamps are currently being deployed only on a single Chicago street, and officials want you not to worry. A computer scientist involved with the project, Charlie Catlett, told the Chicago Tribune:
“Our intention is to understand cities better. Part of the goal is to make these things essentially a public utility.”
City planners obsess over the type of traffic that flows through specific areas. Tools like this could be very helpful in identifying not only where traffic is flowing, but how fast it's moving.
The city assures residents that user data will be anonymized to protect the smartphone owner's identity.
The city could potentially track the time it takes for a signal to go from one lamp to another, automatically tagging that anonymous user as a driver. Pedestrians would, naturally, move more slowly.
Tracking like this could actually be very helpful in identifying traffic inefficiencies and other commuter woes.
This appears to have some benefits, but really -- would you want your city tracking your phone? Let me know what you think in the comments below.