Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Get Smart: Cities Coalition for Digital Rights

In 2018, the cities of Amsterdam, Barcelona, and New York, came together to create a new coalition focused on both expanding and protecting digital rights.  Two years later, in January 2020, the Coalition announced that 45 cities are now participating, including many U.S. cities.

The Coalition is committed to the following "evolving" principles articulated in the Declaration of the Cities Coalition for Digital Rights:

  • Universal and equal access to the internet, and digital literacy
  • Privacy, data protection and security
  • Transparency, accountability, and non-discrimination of data, content and algorithms
  • Participatory Democracy, diversity and inclusion
  • Open and ethical digital service standards

 Meeting recently in Barcelona, city representatives mapped out modes of information exchange and shared problem-solving as cities move ahead with urban technology implementation.

A number of recent reports and articles address the imperative of pairing technology with human rights perspectives in the implementation of the Smart City.  In light of reports on the abuses of urban technology for surveillance of Muslim minorities and others in China, development of human rights-informed standards of implementation are critical.

In addition toe New York City, U.S. cities involved in the Cities Coalition include Austin, Texas; Chicago; Cary, North Carolina; Kansas City (the Missouri one); Long Beach, California; Los Angeles; Philadelphia; Portland, Oregon; and San Antonio.

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