Legal narratives of smart cities: opacity, intelligibility, and compliancy in projects, norms, and futures




accountability; governance; participation; privacy; security; transparency.


The study focuses on narratives and legal components that form the legal imaginary of smart city projects. This imaginary consists of archetypes of Law and Technology called to engage with prototypes of public policies and to (re)build legal stereotypes for smart city projects. After all, smart cities take core normative claims and goals into their code, in both the technological and legal senses of the term. The public storytelling of smart cities and the public policies of Big Data projects in the municipalities of Rio de Janeiro and Montréal are used as case studies, targeting the respective contexts, risks, and legislations. Three axes composed of six variables are applied for the legal analysis in the case studies: opacity (privacy and security), intelligibility (transparency and participation), and compliance (accountability and governance). Such components are central for the contextualization of technological issues of smart cities under a narrative that is more accessible by law, the identification of specific concerns that present social risks to the rule of law, and the justification of measures required by legislation to protect fundamental rights. Brazilian and Canadian legislative references are used as hypothetical exercises on the legal frameworks related to the in-house Big Data projects. Normative sources and elements for further research can be found in each analysis.


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Biografia do Autor

Cristiano de Souza Therrien, Université de Montreal, UdeM, Canadá.

Doctorate in Law from the Université de Montreal, UdeM, Canada. Scholarship holder: Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel, CAPES, Brazil. Professional Master’s Degree in Computer Science and Law from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, UCM, Spain. Graduation in Law Course - daytime. Federal University of Ceará, UFC, Brazil.