Amsterdam, New York, Barcelona Launch Cities Coalition for Digital Rights

On Wednesday, November 14, 2018 — Amsterdam, Barcelona and New York City formally launched the Cities Coalition for Digital Rights, a joint initiative to promote and track progress in protecting residents’ and visitors’ digital rights.

The Cities Coalition for Digital Rights builds upon five shared principles to create policies, tools and resources to promote and protect resident and visitor rights online. The Coalition will create policies, tools and resources to help advance this effort in alignment with the Charter for Human Rights and Principles for the Internet, established within the framework of the UN’s Internet Governance Forum around five core shared principles. The Coalition marks the first time that cities have come together to protect digital rights on a global level.

The shared principles will set the agenda for further policy discussions in coordination with the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) and other participating cities over the next year:

  1. Universal and equal access to the Internet, and digital literacy
    2. Privacy, data protection and security
    3. Transparency, accountability, and non-discrimination of data, content and algorithm
    4. Participatory democracy, diversity and inclusion
    5. Open and ethical digital service standards

For full details, visit

Digital rights refer to the human rights that individuals and communities are entitled to when accessing and using the internet and digital technologies. The Cities Coalition for Digital Rights is based on the principle that the same human rights that people have offline must also be enjoyed and protected in the digital society. We are entering a world where digital technologies are becoming pervasive and imply greater risks for these rights in the real and virtual spaces where we live, and in our interactions with institutions and public administration.

The internet has become inseparable from our daily lives. Yet, every day, there are new cases of digital rights abuse and misuse, and personal information, including our movements and communications, being monitored, shared and sold without consent; ‘black box’ algorithms making unaccountable decisions; social media being used as a tool of harassment and hate speech; and democratic processes and public opinion being undermined.

Cities can work together to solve common digital challenges. As a coalition, the cities commit to share practical examples of their work, learn from each other, and create and share action programs.

“We serve 8.5 million people with the unique and challenging needs of a diverse population that makes New York City one of the most resilient in the world,” said Deputy Mayor Laura Anglin, City of New York. “Protecting human rights in a digital world is essential to global unity and our ability to serve all people fairly and equally.”

“A human centric digital society shall reflect the openness, diversity and the inclusion that are at the core of our societies and values. We want an open Internet that allows every citizen to take part in the online society,” said Deputy Mayor Gerardo Pisarello of Barcelona. “We want an Internet that empowers citizens not discriminates them. We are very proud to join forces with NYC and Amsterdam to protect citizens’ digital rights, such as their privacy, data protection and right to information self-determination.”

“Through digital technologies we can connect to everything and everyone across the world. At the same time we are discriminated by algorithms and locked into digital bubbles.” said Deputy Mayor Touria Meliani of Amsterdam. “The City of Amsterdam feels the responsibility to found this global cities movement, and demonstrate that cities lead the way in human centered innovation.”

Source: Amsterdam, New York and Barcelona Coalition for Digital Rights

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