What if a city is too dumb to be a smart city?

We haven’t been shy in expressing our view that Amazon’s recent sweepstakes was more about collecting data on most American cities and regions than it led on. Still, there’s an upside for the losing cities that brought their A game to the competition: muscle memory.  

As The New York Times piece below illustrates, one such place is Kansas City, Missouri, which failed to make Amazon’s shortlist despite a $2.4 billion incentive package and its pole position as the first metropolitan area to roll out Google Fiber. However, KC, which has worked alongside Sprint and Cisco for a years to reinvent itself as a “smart city,” is now primed for battle in the quest to lure other big tech companies to the area. But other cities eager to attract a tech workforce may not have the know-how to get the job done.

According to Lee Tien of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, some cities don’t know enough about data, privacy or security to successfully morph into a smart city hub. “Local governments bear the brunt of so many duties — and in a lot of these cases, they are often too stupid or too lazy to talk to people who know,” he said.

This article was published as part of Weekly Briefing No. 155