Hong Kong’s newly formed Multi-functional Smart Lampposts Technical Advisory Ad Hoc Committee held its first meeting last week, spearheaded by Hong Kong Government CIO Victor Lam.
A number of topics were discussed, including the work plan and modus operandi of the committee. Members' views and advice on the personal privacy protection and related information security technology issues relating to the operation of multi-functional smart lampposts were sought.
The target is for the committee to complete the work and come up with a report before the end of this year.
"The committee will also advise on the publicity and engagement strategy to facilitate public understanding over the equipment installed on smart lampposts and their functionalities and potential uses in an open and transparent manner in order to gain greater support from the community," Lam said.
A part of Hong Kong’s smart city development
The Multi-functional Smart Lampposts pilot scheme is a three-year programme to promote smart city development in Hong Kong and support 5G mobile network implementation.
Under the scheme, 400 smart lampposts are proposed to be installed in phases in four districts: Central/Admiralty, Causeway Bay/Wan Chai, Tsim Sha Tsui and Kwun Tong/Kai Tak Development Area.
Since the end of June, 50 smart lampposts have been installed on Sheung Yuet Road in Kowloon Bay, on Shing Kai Road in Kai Tak and in the Kwun Tong city centre to collect various types of real-time city data such as meteorological, air quality and traffic flow data. The data collected will be released as open data via data.gov.hk, facilitating the development of more innovative applications by the public.
The government made it clear last month that three applications of the lampposts would not be activated for the time being in view of public concern over privacy. An expert committee will be set up as soon as possible to review the privacy protection of such applications in relation to technology, data handling and operational arrangements.
The applications on hold are the monitoring of illegal dumping at black spots with the aid of cameras by the Environmental Protection Department, the collection and analysis of average traffic speeds and travel times of specific road segments using Bluetooth traffic detectors, and assessment of road use by different types of vehicles enabled by cameras collecting car plate numbers by the Transport Department.
Getting experts in the loop
Members of the committee are drawn from industry experts and academics. Through their expert views in different technology and application fields and constructive advice, we hope to clarify facts and allay public concern.
Besides Lam who serves as convenor of the group, other members include:
- Vincent Chan, partner, Ernst & Young Advisory Services
- Dr K P Chow, associate professor, Department of Computer Science, The University of Hong Kong
- Francis Fong, honorary president, Hong Kong Information Technology Federation
- Stephen Ho, honorary chairman, Communications Association of Hong Kong
- Joseph Ng, professor and director of the Research Centre for Ubiquitous Computing, Department of Computer Science, Hong Kong Baptist University
- Ronald Pong, chairman, IT Governance Committee, Smart City Consortium
- Dr Lawrence Poon, general manager, Hong Kong Productivity Council
- Dr K F Tsang, associate professor, Department of Electronic Engineering, City University of Hong Kong
- Stephen Kai-yi Wong, Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data
- Wilson Wong, chief executive officer, Hong Kong Internet Registration Corporation Limited
The discussion papers for the Committee are available on the Multi-functional Smart Lampposts thematic webpage.