From AI accountability to Citizen Participation: Cities share their questions during the 5th members meeting
On Thursday, 12 March 2020, the members of the Cities Coalition for Digital Rights held an online collaboration session. The meeting, which was originally planned to take place during the Milano Digital Week, had a double purpose: sharing local initiatives, challenges and general questions on specific topics and updating members on the 1st quarter of the 2020 strategy. Here are some of the main highlights.
Sharing Learning Questions to Tackle Common Urban Challenges
How can we ensure accountable AI or address facial recognition in public space? In what ways can we establish data ownership for citizens and involve them in decision-making processes around digital rights? What forms of collaboration with universities can we draw inspiration from and start for mutual learning? To what extent can auditability, interoperability, security and privacy be guaranteed through the use of open technologies?
In these exceptional times we are living, digital rights urge us to collectively reflect, protect and strive further for them. During the online meeting, members made their local learning questions as well as questions on specific topics, as the ones above, explicit. The discussion was centered on AI, Data Sharing, the Citizen Voice Project and Open Technologies, guided by relevant experts on each matter. You can view the full presentation here.
- In regards to Artificial Intelligence, Aik van Eemeren from the City of Amsterdam, brought in examples of efforts taken by Helsinki, Ghent, Amsterdam and London to increase AI accountability: an AI ethical framework, co-created procurement guidelines, an open registry and a transparency tool. Another valuable example coming from Helsinki, is the free open course on AI and Ethics, to introduce the basics of AI to citizens.
- For Data Sharing, Federica Bordelot from EUROCITIES guided us through the latest legislative measures at European level. She also announced EUROCITIES’ statement on People-centred AI in cities: A response to the EU’s white paper on AI and introduced us to the Citizen Data Principles, an initiative by the cities of Barcelona, Edinburgh, Eindhoven, Ghent and Zaragoza.
- The Citizen Voice Project which was presented to us by Beth and Kevin, is an initiative from The Democratic Society, a non-profit organisation working for greater participation and dialogue in democracy. Cities who expressed interest in participating in this citizen-engagement project came together to be briefed and establish a dialogue on the project itself.
- We also reflected on the importance of using Open technologies, in a session led by Malcolm Bain, lawyer and external advisor for the City of Barcelona. There are three key dimensions to open technology: policy, such as the Ethical Digital Standards by Barcelona, an open source Policy Toolkit for cities to develop digital policies that put citizens at the center and make Governments more open, transparent, and collaborative. Next to policy, design and implementation are also key, to bring governments closer to citizens through transparency and accountability while avoiding vendor lock-in.
The compiled learning questions and discussion served as a base for our brand new monthly Deep Dives: CC4DR in Practice! These deep dives will be taking place every first Thursday of the month and will address common challenges per topic in-depth, as well as share approaches, use-cases, procedures and methods.
Do you have learning questions to share but missed the meeting? You can still share them with us and get involved in our upcoming deep dive, taking place every first Thursday of the Month!
With the first quarter of 2020 behind our backs, we also got together to update and reflect on the coalition’s strategy so far. This also served as an opportunity to co-create ways forward with members.
Among the planned actions is compiling procedures and use-cases from cities through interviews to get a cleared overview of best practices. Related to this exercise, is the update of the coalition’s website which will be aimed to strengthen knowledge exchange between cities by facilitating interaction and showing a clear overview of good practices for every principle. Additionally, the blog section will now feature experts and city members alike to share their views or ongoing projects on topics with a written contribution. Last but not least, there was a general expression of interest to co-create a Digital Rights Impact Assessment which will help us to reflect and close the gap between policy and actions together!
The coalition’s work continues and we hope to see you in our webinars and our quarterly meetups (online for now)!
1. CC4DR In Practice: Monthly Deep Dives per topic as below. First one: 2nd of April 2020.
2. Benchmark Best Practices
3. Further Develop Website
4. Guest Blogs
5. Co-create Digital Rights Impact Assessment
SAVE THE DATES! - Next meet-ups
-Every first Thursday of the month: Online CC4DR In Practice Deep Dives
-Every last Thursday of the month: Webinar
- NGI Policy Summit - Digital Rights & Policy in Amsterdam – 29th of September – 1st of October [as updates follow]
- Barcelona Smart City – 17-19 November [as updates follow]