You make a card payment, you use an app or a social media account, you drive, or simply walk through the city – and you leave behind your data. Companies and public authorities then pick up this data, but how should they use it responsibly?
As authorities dedicated to the public interest, cities want to use data in a socially responsible way, to improve decision making and enhance the efficiency of public services. Armed with this information we can better design, for instance, sustainable local transport networks and services, by monitoring things like traffic flow, noise pollution or carbon emissions.
Yet understanding how best to do this, while preserving and reinforcing citizens’ rights, is a challenge. That’s why EUROCITIES Knowledge Society Forum has come together in Eindhoven to agree 10 principles to guide European local authorities on how to use data generated by citizens to improve urban life while preserving European values:
- Citizen data is a public and individual asset that shall be solely used in the public interest
- Citizen data generates tangible benefits for citizens and society to improve our cities
- Citizens must have access to, and be able to manage, their data
- Personal data must be subject to relevant EU and national legislation
- Transparency and accountability must apply when generating data in the public space
- Safeguards must try to avoid the risk of individuals or profiles being identified
- The integrity, authenticity, consistency and accuracy of data must be preserved
- Open working methods should facilitate data sharing and re-use
- Citizens must be regularly engaged to discuss and agree any ethical consequences of data collection
- Local governments have a strong role to play as connectors within their local innovation ecosystem and should be given the means to do so
Anna Lisa Boni, secretary general, EUROCITIES, said:
“At EUROCITIES our concept of what makes a city ‘smarter’ begins with the citizen. A growing need for quality data in the development of smarter cities comes with challenges to the privacy and protection of citizen generated data. At the same time, citizens must be able to access, use and manage their own data, because they are its owners and ultimate guardians. We want to ensure that city authorities are equipped to deal with these challenges and ensure that people can trust public authorities with their data.”
Sofie Bracke, chair of EUROCITIES Knowledge society forum and deputy mayor of economy, trade, sports and the port, Ghent, said:
“The public space in cities is rapidly becoming digitalised. The governance of the public realm is an increasing priority for local governments. Accessing citizen generated knowledge in a socially responsible way can allow public and private entities to innovate and to deliver services that better reflect the needs and habits of people. So, local governments want to use data of the people, by the people, for the people”.
John Jorritsma, mayor of Eindhoven said:
“Data are a valuable asset for the development of our cities. Public-private collaboration is most important to fully utilise its potential. Local governments act in the public interest. They are the bridge between different partners in the ecosystem: players and enablers for social innovation. Today is an important day for local governments in Europe. We are making a step forward on how to use data in cities to improve urban life, and at the same time preserving and reinforcing citizens’ rights. I am proud Eindhoven contributed to this development. Through EUROCITIES we will work to make sure our Citizen Data Principles, which I launched today, will be broadly adopted in all Europe.”
Notes to the editor
- Please find here the full set of EUROCITIES principles on citizen data.
- EUROCITIES is the political platform for major European cities. We network the local governments of over 140 of Europe’s largest cities and more than 40 partner cities that between them govern some 130 million citizens across 39 countries. www.eurocities.eu
- EUROCITIES Knowledge Society Forum supports cities to ensure all citizens can benefit from the digital transformation, and helps public administrations to make the most of the rapid development of new technologies.
- These principles on citizen data were initiated by the cities of Barcelona, Edinburgh, Eindhoven, Ghent, Zaragoza and are now being adopted by EUROCITIES member cities through our Knowledge Society Forum.
Alex Godson: +32 495 298 594 // firstname.lastname@example.org