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‘Uthics’-approach (Utrecht ethics) aimes an explainable story when we digitize based on our values such as Health, Privacy, Autonomy, Balance of Power, Digital Inclusion and more

Institutional measures

In our CIO office we both have a Chief Privacy Officer and a Chief Information Security Officer and as a control mechanism a Data Protection Officer. We currently run an organisation wide data protection program and strive to be ISO 27001 ready in 2022. In the CIO office we also have an Information Commissioner who is institutionalizing our ‘Uthics’-approach (Utrecht ethics) and our Open Data policy. Uthics aimes an explainable story when we digitize based on our values such as Health, Privacy, Autonomy, Balance of Power, Digital Inclusion and more. The Digital Equity agenda – as part of our Digital City vision – is proposed to the City Council by the Assembly of Major and Executives (Aldermen) on the 26th of April 2021.

General Process

The Assembly of Major and executives have expressed their commitment to upholding the declaration (official decree). We want to publicly announce this after the City Council has established our Digital City Vision. And of course, we are willing to attend and contribute to global digital rights events.

Principle-based work

All households in Utrecht are connected via COAX. We are currently negotiating with providers on the roll-out of optical fiber for all households. The whole city has 4G coverage and 5G policy and rollout are currently under discussion. We have structural funding for digital literacy campaigns and programs. We combine low literacy and improvement of digital skills in our program Adult-education. Additionally, we support programs to provide laptops for kids attending school.

Privacy, data protection, and security

Our data protection policy is currently published on our website. We have a local privacy regulation, we have a register of processing personal data, we publish our data breaches online and we have an open register of video cameras. We are starting a community with local SME‘s on digital security and we take part in the ‘Hackshield’ program. In this program school, children learn on data-security and are also challenged to engage their (grand)parents.

Transparency, accountability, and non-discrimination of data, content and algorithms

We publish and regularly update a complete list of all algorithms we use for decision-making. Up until now, we have published 900 data sources on our digital portal. We will broaden the scope in the next years with different document types.

Participatory Democracy, diversity, and inclusion

Last year we launched the denkmee.utrecht platform which enables new forms of digital participation. We have implemented policy on accessibility for our digital platforms. This includes e.g. access for blind and deaf persons, and also the guarantee that non-digital access will always be possible. Through UX-design we are working on improving the accessibility for various other groups.

Open and ethical digital service standards

We are members and very active contributors to the Common ground community in the Netherlands. Together with other local governments, we are developing Open standards and tools that enable to develop Open source solutions that can be re-used by other local governments. One of the features of the architecture is a separate data layer. With our ‘Uthics’ approach, we have implemented our value-based approach to the Ethical use of digital technology. This includes also the use of IoT devices. 

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