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January 2021 @BCN: Check out Barcelona's latest actions in defense of digital rights

Over the past week, the promotion and protection of digital rights have been at the top of Barcelona City Council's agenda, implementing its strategy in favour of technological humanism:

First, Barcelona City Council, on 21 January, presented the report "The Digital Divide in the City of Barcelona" (summary in English here) published by BIT Habitat, a non-profit organisation attached to the City Council whose aim is to promote economic, social and urban innovation in Barcelona and to respond to the new challenges facing the city. The report reflects the data obtained from interviews with 2,542 Barcelona residents conducted by the City Council, which asked respondents about the availability of connectivity in their homes, the availability of digital devices that allow access to the network and the use they made of it and concluded that 8% of households in Barcelona have no Internet connection and 97% of high-income households have access to the network compared to 91% of low-income households. The results of the survey were also compared with the survey carried out in 2016, which showed that in the last four years, lower-income households have increased their level of connectivity from 75% to 91%, which is a very positive development.

Extract - Digital Divide in Barcelona City - 2020

Secondly, Barcelona City Council, in order to promote citizens' knowledge of the digital reality, together with the organisation Xnet and the Citizen Group for Digital Policies (GCPD), launched a campaign on 19 January to compile civil society initiatives in Barcelona in defence of digital rights with the aim of developing projects in the following areas: (i) Universal and equal access on the Internet; (ii) Internet neutrality; (iii) Digital privacy and data protection; (iv) Ethics of algorithms; (v) Electronic democracy and digital distributed governance; (vi) Access to knowledge and information for open digital protocols. Digital as a form of access and expansion of fundamental rights. With these initiatives, which will be collected through a form on its website until 21 March, Barcelona aims to give a voice to the citizen ecosystem in the field of the defence and promotion of digital rights. The process will culminate with a public presentation to make the initiatives known to citizens and to create synergies between the various groups and active people involved, and they will also be presented to the other cities belonging to the Cities Coalition for Digital Rights.

Finally, last week (19 January) Barcelona City Council also responded to the second public consultation for the drafting of a Digital Rights Charter promoted by the Spanish Secretary of State for Digitalisation and Artificial Intelligence, whose deadline for civil society to participate was 20 January. In the response, the city of Barcelona welcomed the integration of the rights that the City Council proposed in the first public consultation response and indicated those rights that should be integrated in the final version to ensure a fair digital transition in which the protection of digital rights is guaranteed, and Spain continues to be at the forefront internationally.

Cities who would like to sign and learn more about the coalition, please review the checklist of digital rights actions and apply to formally indicate your interest in joining.
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