Responsible Data Governance in Smart Cities
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I’ve written a few times recently about the growth in smart city projects around the world, and data unquestionably sits at the heart of all of these initiatives. It’s vital if they’re to achieve their potential that the data governance for the projects is fair and robust. That’s the finding from UK-based innovation group, Nesta, in a recent report on smart city development.
As big data has increasingly lived up to its name, cities have become a major focal point, with more and more city authorities attempting to take a data-driven approach to everything from public transport to waste management.
The Need for Smart Data Governance
The authors argue that as data has become more and more important to the running of the modern city, it’s increasingly important that we have a discussion on how that data is managed. Who decides what to do with the data? How do we ensure discrimination or exclusion does not result from its use? How do we maintain the privacy of citizens?
The report highlights a number of interesting case studies where cities have deployed innovative approaches and policies to the management of data. They conclude with a number of recommendations to help smart city managers and policy makers do better with their own data governance:
- Build consensus around clear ethical principles and translate them into practical policies.
- Train public sector staff on how to assess the benefits and risks of smart technologies.
- Look outside the council for expertise and partnerships, including with other city governments.
- Find and articulate the benefits of privacy and digital ethics to multiple stakeholders
- Become a test-bed for new services that give people more privacy and control.
- Make time and resources available for genuine public engagement on the use of surveillance technologies.
- Build digital literacy and make complex or opaque systems more understandable and accountable.
- Find opportunities to involve citizens in the process of data collection and analysis from start to finish.
There is still a sense that the smart city movement has yet to deliver on the considerable promise that sits behind it, but, hopefully, reports like this will help lead the conversation forward in a responsible way.
Published at DZone with permission of Adi Gaskell, DZone MVB. See the original article here.
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