The Cities Coalition for Digital Rights is the creation of city governments from around the world. Its board also includes Eurocities, UN-Habitat and United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG). To join, cities need to have made a clear political commitment to promote digital rights, and demonstrate that they are developing policies and projects to protect these rights in practice.
United in spirit and ambition, the Cities Coalition for Digital Rights works in a pragmatic and principled way. Conceived as a world-wide initiative to promote and defend the digital rights of citizens, residents and visitors in cities and urban environments, its principal objective is to ensure fair, inclusive, accessible, affordable and non-discriminatory digital environments. In addition, it works to:
- Improve policies, laws, plans and strategies for more open and ethical digital service standards at city and global level.
- Improve access to affordable internet and digital services on equal terms, and disseminate digital skills that enable users to take advantage of their access and overcome the digital divide.
- Improve privacy and control over personal information through data protection in both physical and virtual spaces.
- Increase understanding of the technological, algorithmic and artificial intelligence systems that impact users’ lives, and strengthen users’ ability to question and change unfair, biased or discriminatory systems.
- Improve representation on the internet, and collectively engage with cities to create open, participatory and transparent opportunities to shape the technologies cities adopt, including by managing digital infrastructures and data as common goods.
Digital Rights Governance Framework. Cities in the coalition are creating a framework to govern digital rights in cities and provide tailored support that enables city governments to build their capacity to protect digital rights.
Global Observatory of Urban Artificial Intelligence (GOUAI). Founded by Amsterdam and Barcelona in collaboration with the Barcelona Centre for International Affairs (CIDOB), the GOUAI aims to monitor AI policies and products; update policy standards on ethical AI using an evidence-based approach; identify barriers to the deployment of trusted AI; and agree city contributions to broader technological trends.
As we come to rely increasingly on the internet, we need even more energetically to protect and respect basic human rights for all in the digital realm. That is the role of our coalition of more than fifty cities and networks: we promote and defend digital rights in urban contexts, resolve common digital challenges, and work towards legal, ethical and operational frameworks to advance human rights in digital environments.
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