The City of Toronto joined 35 other cities around the world on October 17 in signing the Declaration of Cities for Digital Rights to further ensure equitable and safe access to digital technology in Toronto. Toronto is the only Canadian city to sign on the agreement so far.
Mayor John Tory states, “With our fast-growing technology sector, diversified economy and innovative workforce, Toronto is well-positioned to become a global leader in smart city technologies. The City of Toronto is working to make sure we embrace the benefits of these technologies for our residents while also addressing concerns about privacy and other issues.”
This international declaration commits cities to protect and uphold human rights on the internet at the local and global level, and includes five evolving principles:
• universal and equal access to the internet and digital literacy
• privacy, data protection, and security
• transparency, accountability, and non-discrimination of data, content, and algorithms
• participatory democracy, diversity and inclusion, and
• open and ethical digital service standards.
Signing the declaration supports Toronto’s plans to become more connected through the innovative use of data, technology, and policies. It is also in line with Toronto City Council’s direction earlier this year to develop a policy framework and governance model associated with digital infrastructure and to prepare an implementation plan.
To help develop the policy framework, the City will launch public consultations in December to discuss the use of digital technologies in public places. Participants will learn more about smart city technologies and related issues while also having the opportunity to provide input on principles that will form the foundation of the policy framework and governance model. This governance model will be developed through further consultations and opportunities for public participation in 2020. An update report including results from the initial consultations will be considered by the Executive Committee at its meeting on January 23.
More information about smart city technologies and the public consultations is available at http://www.toronto.ca/smartcity. Questions or written input on digital technologies can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
More information about Cities for Digital Rights is available at https://citiesfordigitalrights.org.