Mobility data: what about data privacy, ownership and governance?

The opportunities to improve urban life using data and specifically urban data collected in the physical environment also create new questions and concerns about data privacy, ownership, and governance. But while every city faces these challenges, no city has put forth a comprehensive plan to overcome them and put data to work for urban populations.

This week SidewalkLabs presented some initial proposals on digital governance for their Sidewalk Toronto project. These ideas can guide the use of data in other cities ass well.

Open data 2018-10-21 at 11.15.56

The proposed guidelines include:

  • No one has a right to own information collected from Quayside’s physical environment including Sidewalk Labs. Instead, this urban data should be under the control of an independent Civic Data Trust.
  • To protect privacy, all entities proposing to collect or use urban data (including Sidewalk Labs) will have to file a Responsible Data Impact Assessment with the Data Trust that is publicly available and reviewable.
  • With regard to the use of data, one set of rules will apply to everyone. Sidewalk Labs will not receive any special treatment.
  • Sidewalk Labs will use open standards for any digital infrastructure and services it provides so anyone can plug in or compete.

Read the guidelines here.

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