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BlackBerry unveils secure smart city service as CEO opens up about big tech


BlackBerry Inc. is making a play to integrate itself into smart cities and vehicles. The Waterloo ON-based technology company announced Monday that it has built a new service to provide infrastructure for vehicles and traffic lights to exchange information securely.

smart city and wireless communication network, IoT

BlackBerry will waive the service fees for the product for automakers and public offices involved in smart city and connected vehicle pilots because it says the offering is necessary to ensure users can trust the validity of information received from other systems. The service will first be used in conjunction with Invest Ottawa, which will use it for a 16-kilometre road autonomous vehicle test track resembling a miniature city, complete with pavement markings, traffic lights, stop signs and pedestrian crosswalks.vSpeaking at a conference in Toronto, BlackBerry chief executive John Chen denied the service was meant to target Google, whose sister company Sidewalk Labs has been marred in controversy over its proposal to build a smart city in Toronto.

“I think we are doing things they would rather not do for free,” Chen said without elaborating around what those things are. “We just want to secure communications. We want to let people control their own privacy, and the level and degree, so that when you decide you want to share… it is your explicit consent to share.”

Already too big to be reined in – when it comes to data and privacy

Asked if technology companies rivalling BlackBerry are already too big to be reined in, especially when it comes to data and privacy, Chen said no.

“But if you cut off their ability to gather more data, then their data becomes stale, then the very big become meaningless,” he said.

Dealing with them, needs to be a public-private policy issue and can’t be one-sided, he added. He has seen a “very big gap” between when technology becomes pervasive and when “policy people” enter discussions and raise concerns. However, he said, “the gap needs to be minimized quite dramatically, but we shouldn’t let government policy drive technology.” He called on Canada to adopt a better set of policies around data privacy and for individuals to think more carefully around how their data is used and their privacy can be compromised. He pointed to mobile phones as an example, admitting he hasn’t turned the GPS on his BlackBerry “for obvious reasons.”

“Occasionally I can’t find my phone and I wish I had turned on GPS,” he said. “I don’t want to know where the closest gas station is and I don’t want to give up my location, my private data for knowing where the gas stations are.”

 

 


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1 Comment » for BlackBerry unveils secure smart city service as CEO opens up about big tech
  1. Patrick Wishart says:

    I am really glad to receive communication from you.I have an idea in mind,that
    for what its worth,I would like to share with a Canadian company.It is for driver safety,And official vehicles.As follows,,
    #1,A small transmitter will be mounted in Fire Tenders,Ambulances,Police vehicles.Must be off and on switchable at the operators discretion.
    A receiver can be in a persons car,truck etc,This unit is to be turned on with
    the ignition when the driver goes on the public road.This unit must have some kind of display and buzzer to advise the driver which direction the fire tender or ambulance is approaching from,POLICE must be able to switch off their transmitter if chasing a suspect.No need for me to say more,as if your technical people reads this,they may see some safety benefit here.

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