About this Issue

Sensor networks and always-on data flows produce new service models and analytics to make modern cities and local communities more livable, sustainable, and equitable. At the same time, connected smart city devices raise concerns about individuals’ privacy, autonomy, and freedom of choice, as well as potential discrimination by institutions.

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Working collaboratively with public, private, and civil society leaders, FPF is developing best practices to guide how cities and local communities collect, manage, and use personal data to improve services for citizens. FPF and its Smart Communities Working Group seek to promote fair and transparent data uses, provide practical guidance to help local governments navigate complicated privacy-related issues, and help individuals better understand and engage with data-driven programs in their communities.

FPF’s ultimate goal is to help individuals, local communities, and technology providers leverage the benefits of a data-rich society while minimizing threats to individual privacy and civil liberties.

Highlights Include:

  • FPF created an Open Data Risk Assessment for the City of Seattle. This Report provides tools and guidance to the City of Seattle and other municipalities navigating the complex policy, operational, technical, organizational, and ethical standards that support privacy-protective open data programs.
    • FPF published an interactive visual guide to smart city technologies and data flows, Shedding Light on Smart City Privacy.
    • FPF published a central repository of Smart City Privacy Best Practices for privacy-related guidance documents, best practices, reports, codes of conduct, and other resources relevant to smart communities.
    • FPF convened a roundtable, Privacy in the Smart City: Finding the Middle Ground, to discuss how communities can secure the social benefits of new technologies while protecting individual privacy.
    • FPF contributed a chapter to the Cambridge Handbook of Consumer Privacy on Smart Cities: Privacy, Transparency, Community.
    • FPF filed comments on the NITRD Smart Cities and Communities Federal Strategic Plan.
    • FPF filed comments before the New York City Taxi & Limousine Commission and the California Public Utilities Commission regarding municipal collection of corporate data.
    • FPF is developing a Smart and Equitable Communities Privacy Impact Assessment for municipal technology and privacy leaders.
    • FPF has co-hosted events with strategic partners MetroLab Networks and NYU, and has presented or led panels at numerous smart cities, open data, and human rights-oriented events.
    • FPF is developing a Privacy Communications and Stakeholder Engagement toolkit for state and local Integrated Data Systems.

We invite you to join the Future of Privacy Forum and participate in the Smart Communities Working Group.

Working Group Meetings

Smart Cities Working Group meetings are generally held Mondays from 3:00 – 4:00 PM ET. FPF members are welcome to join these discussions. If you would like call-in information (or to be added to the working group), please contact Kelsey Finch at [email protected].

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FPF Publishes Model Open Data Benefit-Risk Analysis
Spotlight

January 30, 2018 | Kelsey Finch

FPF Publishes Model Open Data Benefit-Risk Analysis

This Report first describes inherent privacy risks in an open data landscape, with an emphasis on potential harms related to re-identification, data quality, and fairness. To address these risks, the Report includes a Model Open Data Benefit-Risk Analysis (“Model Analysis”). The Model Analysis evaluates the types of data contained in a proposed open dataset, the potential benefits – and concomitant risks – of releasing the dataset publicly, and strategies for effective de-identification and risk mitigation.

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What's Happening: Smart Communities

FPF Publishes Model Open Data Benefit-Risk Analysis
Top Story

January 30, 2018 | Kelsey Finch

FPF Publishes Model Open Data Benefit-Risk Analysis

This Report first describes inherent privacy risks in an open data landscape, with an emphasis on potential harms related to re-identification, data quality, and fairness. To address these risks, the Report includes a Model Open Data Benefit-Risk Analysis (“Model Analysis”). The Model Analysis evaluates the types of data contained in a proposed open dataset, the potential benefits – and concomitant risks – of releasing the dataset publicly, and strategies for effective de-identification and risk mitigation.

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New Future of Privacy Forum Study Finds the City of Seattle’s Open Data Program a National Leader in Privacy Program Management
Top Story

January 25, 2018 | Melanie E. Bates

New Future of Privacy Forum Study Finds the City of Seattle’s Open Data Program a National Leader in Privacy Program Management

Today, the Future of Privacy Forum released its City of Seattle Open Data Risk Assessment. The Assessment provides tools and guidance to the City of Seattle and other municipalities navigating the complex policy, operational, technical, organizational, and ethical standards that support privacy-protective open data programs.

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Examining the Open Data Movement
Top Story

January 25, 2018 | Kelsey Finch

Examining the Open Data Movement

The transparency goals of the open data movement serve important social, economic, and democratic functions in cities like Seattle. At the same time, some municipal datasets about the city and its citizens’ activities carry inherent risks to individual privacy when shared publicly. In 2016, the City of Seattle declared in its Open Data Policy that the city’s data would be “open by preference,” except when doing so may affect individual privacy.[1] To ensure its Open Data Program effectively protects individuals, Seattle committed to performing an annual risk assessment and tasked the Future of Privacy Forum (FPF) with creating and deploying an initial privacy risk assessment methodology for open data.

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