Policy papers

EUROCITIES principles on citizen data: 10 data principles for the common good

5 April 2019

Where does our data go? How can citizens take back some control over what will become one of the most valuable resources of our society?

A growing number of citizen datasets are generated every day in cities and this has brought a lot of concern and questions about the way to implement citizens’ rights or even whether they have these rights. This data has significant social, scientific and economic value for society. Recognised as a public asset, data generated in public spaces should be used and managed by the society, as a whole. Unfortunately, current business models do not allow full access and use of this data, preventing local companies, academics, governments and citizens from participating in and benefitting from socially responsible innovation.

In the last few months, from the initiative of Barcelona, Edinburgh, Eindhoven, Ghent and Zaragoza, the Knowledge Society Forum has worked towards more socially responsible use of data and developed the ‘citizen data’ principles. The principles will serve as guidelines for cities in their activities as well as to help shape the future of EU urban policies for smarter, competitive, liveable and democratic cities.

The principles recognise, protect and uphold the citizens’ rights on the data they produce. They cover issues of ownership, control, privacy, transparency and accountability, quality, interoperability and social responsibility.

EUROCITIES citizen data principles


Federica Bordelot Head of Digital Transformation