With the increasing reliance on the internet arises the need to protect and respect basic human rights for all in the digital realm. Globally, six out of ten people are not connected to the internet, and violation of human rights including shutdowns, targeting of activists and journalists for their online activities, collection of personal data without consent, and digital surveillance persist. The Cities Coalition for Digital Rights is committed to harnessing technology, to improve the lives of people, and support communities in cities by providing trustworthy and secure digital services and infrastructure.
For this reason, EUROCITIES launched a campaign in March 2019 to mobilize 100 new cities to join the Coalition for Digital Rights in 100 days together with UN-Habitat, OHCHR, UCLG, and the cities of Amsterdam, Barcelona, and New York. This campaign enhanced the ability of cities to promote legal frameworks and programs that advance digital rights and prevent their abuse.
Moreover, in February 2020 EUROCITIES promoted a future regulatory framework for a trustworthy AI that takes into account the principles defined by the Cities for Digital Rights Coalition as a response to the European Commission's (EC) digital strategy package.
Most recently with the serious pandemic crisis, EUROCITIES supported strongly the efforts and the recommendations of the CCDR to guide city leaders, urban managers, and other stakeholders to use technology in response to the COVID 19. These recommendations provide a framework that places human rights at the center, providing guidance on how to involve the beneficiaries of technology and foster consent and trust, openness and transparency, fairness and inclusion, and social innovation. They are particularly valuable at this time given the impact of COVID-19 on diverse populations within cities and that's why EUROCITIES encourages city leaders and managers to use them as a starting point for conversations within their organizations with the aim to promote the understanding of and improve access to technology.
The Secretary-General of EUROCITIES, Ms. Anna Lisa Boni says "We want to ensure that access to digital services enables people to lead better lives while leaving no one behind. The Digital Rights Coalition includes many EUROCITIES member cities with whom we are working to translate these principles into further actions at the local level designed and developed for and with the people."