The smart cities scheme is part of an international push towards connectivity, which promised to make the delivery of services more efficient.
Still, access to information documents obtained by the Canadian Press notes CSIS concerns about vulnerabilities of towns that adopt the so-called internet of things:
In other words, data collected through a bike sharing app could theoretically heighten access to other connected devices, such as a city’s energy grid, water supply, or traffic-light management database.
This sort of exposure will have serious financial, social and health and safety implications in Canada. Imagine a scenario where a co-ordinated cyberattack took down safety locks that prevent catastrophic explosions at a petrochemical facility, while simultaneously controlling traffic lights to inhibit the emergency response.
Smart city devices collect massive amounts of personal data, including biometric data and other information highlighting personal life choices and patterns. Hostile state actors are currently exploring various means of attaining access to future smart city platforms, including through access provided by state-owned or state-linked technology companies.
Though there is no official tally of Canadian Smart Cities, some 225 municipalities expressed interest in the Smart Cities Challenge when it was first launched in 2017.
The Federal website dedicated to the program funded through Infrastructure Canada, which grants awards for municipalities that adopt the initiative, does not describe the dangers of foreign actors.
However, a CSIS website does:
Smart cities will collect and operate by processing huge volumes of personal and corporate data produced through interactions with, and usage of, smart infrastructure. This data can provide valuable insights for threat actors, including profiles and patterns of life of Canadians.
In the hands of a threat actor, this data can be exploited to enable activities that compromise the safety and security of Canadians (e.g.espionage, foreign interference) and Canadian critical infrastructure.
The Trudeau Liberals are credibly accused of benefiting from foreign influence from China. CSIS has flagged 11 ridings as targets of Chinese intervention, including Don Valley East, represented by Han Dong.
A CSIS whistleblower claims top Liberal Party brass, including the Prime Minister, were warned about CCP meddling in Dong's nomination, but those warnings went unheeded.