Urban Transition in the Era of the Internet of Things: Social Implications and Privacy Challenges

Abbas M. Hassan, Ali Ismail Awad

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


The Internet of Things (IoT) could become an important aspect of urban life in the next decade. In the IoT paradigm, various information and communication technologies (ICTs) are used in concert to substantially reduce urban problems. Smart cities and ubiquitous cities will adopt ICTs in the urban development process; however, IoT-based cities will experience considerably stronger effects than those that adopt conventional ICTs. IoT cities allow urban residents and "things" to be connected to the Internet by virtue of the extension of the Internet Protocol from IPv4 to IPv6 and of cutting-edge device and sensor technology. Therefore, the urban transition resulting from the influence of IoT may be a critical issue. The privacy-related vulnerabilities of IoT technologies may negatively affect city residents. Furthermore, disparities in the spread of IoT systems across different countries may allow some countries to subvert the privacy of other countries' citizens. The aim of this paper is to identify the potential prospects and privacy challenges that will emerge from IoT deployment in urban environments. This paper reviews the prospects of and barriers to IoT implementation at the regional, city, and residential scales from the perspectives of security and privacy. The IoT technology will be a continual presence in life in general and in urban life in particular. However, the adoption of the IoT paradigm in cities will be complicated due to the inherent presence of unsecured connections. Moreover, the IoT systems may rob people of some of their humanity, infringing on their privacy, because people are also regarded as "things" in the IoT paradigm. Given the social trepidation surrounding IoT implementation, local and international associations related to IoT privacy, and legislation and international laws, are needed to maintain the personal right to privacy and to satisfy the demands of institutional privacy in urban contexts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)36428-36440
Number of pages13
JournalIEEE Access
Publication statusPublished - May 17 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Internet of Things (IoT)
  • IoT privacy challenges
  • IoT privacy framework
  • IoT vulnerabilities
  • Smart cities
  • urban transition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Computer Science
  • General Materials Science
  • General Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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