NYC, UN partner to expand city digital rights group

For Alby Bocanegra, New York City’s interim chief technology officer, ensuring the digital rights of residents is a key part of his role. And through a new partnership with the United Nations, New York is expanding its work on digital rights to include new cities around the globe.

“We’re forming a partnership with the United Nations’ habitats program and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in our joint effort,” Bocanegra said in a video interview from his office last month. “We’re also announcing an effort to enlist 100 cities in 100 days into the coalition.”

Formed last November as a partnership between New York City, Amsterdam and Barcelona, the Cities Coalition for Digital Rights has since grown to 23 international cities. Now, the coalition has joined forces with the United Nations, as well as EUROCITIES and the United Cities and Local Governments. The new joint effort will aim to recruit 100 cities in 100 days to join the coalition and create policies, tools and resources to promote and protect resident and visitor rights online, according to a release from NYC’s Office of the Chief Technology Officer.

“Things like equal access to the internet, the right to privacy, freedom of expression and also protection from biases in artificial intelligence and other technologies — there’s a lot of great best practices that are out there in the world, and I’m excited to see what our coalition comes up with in terms of tangible outcomes for the coalition and different collaborative efforts that I feel are going to benefit the people that live in our cities for a long time to come. It’s a discussion that needs to be had,” Bocanegra said.

Bocanegra on the challenges to the CTO’s office:

On why NYC is a unique place for innovation:

On the future of his agency:

This video was filmed at the NYC Mayor’s Office of the Chief Technology Officer offices in New York City on March 22, 2019.