Smart cities: Challenges on the path to better living - Part 2
Although there are indicators that smart cities, underpinned by innovative technologies, have managed to revolutionize the lives of citizens, doubts around their efficiency in the context of privacy of personal data still arise.
After four years of preparation and debate, the EU Parliament enforced GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) in 2018, designed to harmonize privacy laws across Europe. The regulation was put in action after it was acknowledged that there was an underdeveloped cybersecurity plan operating at a local level and that the handling of data by administrations was potentially problematic. 
The privacy issue typically revolves around education and transparency and opens a debate on what data is being collected, how it’s being monitored, how it’s being used, to whom it’s being sold, and what will be done with it in the future. 
One example of data-collecting procedures is the case of Antwerp, Belgium, where data on water consumption are stored by a private company, which signed a contract with the city. 
Furthermore, smart cities include certain types of surveillance technics which include strategically placed cameras across smart cities. This helps the city fight crimes at night and also determine the culprits who have committed crimes in public. Facial recognition is also a rising field, which tends to be implemented on a wide scale in order to make the place safer by identifying offenders the moment they are picked up by a camera. These types of measures are expected to reduce the number of accidents in a smart city.
Although privacy issues in the era of smart cities are frequently discussed as problematic in certain circles, facts show that, in some CESEE cities, surveillance seems to be, simply put, a burning necessity.
Just recently, in the capital of North Macedonia, a country persistently rejected for EU membership, nearly all newly-purchased trach containers placed on multiple locations in the city were systematically destroyed by an unidentified group of vandals. The trash containers were a donation by the city’s municipality and their cost was a total of EUR 1500 each.  Most certainly, there are a number of similar examples of vandalism that frequently occur in many, if not most CESEE cities.
Quite often, objects of cultural and natural heritage are vandalized as well, and in that context, the UN's aim to protect and safeguard them in accordance with SDG11 can be secured by the implementation of technology which is common in ‘smart cities’.