Gender, data protection & the smart city: Exploring the role of DPIA in achieving equality goals
When reflecting upon the role of law as an instrument influencing urban planning and shaping urban environments, the most immediate link is to environmental and urban legislation.
Nevertheless, data protection law is increasingly expected to affect the future development of urban realities in the European Union (EU). Being actual “data cities”, current smart cities have been significantly affected by the entry into force of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). In particular, the Data Protection Impact Assessment (DPIA) is increasingly portraited as a solution to address the countless fundamental rights challenges arising from the personal data processing operations occurring in the context of smart cities, inter alia due to its participatory element. However, is DPIA a suitable approach to making smart cities more inclusive, and specifically to empower women of diverse races, backgrounds, sexual orientations and abilities? Enquiry into the ways in which smart cities, where urban and data protection challenges merge, might
exacerbate dynamics of oppression against women, and how European data protection law could address these challenges, is still lacking. The objective of this article is to begin such a discussion.