Global declaration to safeguard digital rights in the use of technology

The Cities Coalition for Digital Rights has presented a joint declaration for safeguarding digital rights in the use of technology to tackle the Covid-19 crisis. The coalition, created by Barcelona, New York and Amsterdam and made up of over 50 cities worldwide, uses the document to stand up for the use of technology and mobile apps as tools to complement the control measures for the pandemic and the new social behaviour directives established by the health authorities.

14/05/2020 19:28 h

Ajuntament de Barcelona

Technological applications have been developed and put into use during the pandemic to help with epidemiology and health services to combat the epidemic:

  • Apps offering the public information on the virus, social guidelines, personal hygiene and self-diagnosis.
  • Apps to trace people’s daily contacts to facilitate the identification of sources of infection and contain the spread.

To this end, a list of ten shared principles has been drafted, put forward by Barcelona City Council with input from the city councils of Amsterdam, Bordeaux, Chicago, Helsinki, Milan, New York, Portland, Porto, San Antonio and Toronto. The principles should be followed in the application of digital technologies aimed at tackling the Covid-19 crisis:

  1. Principle of Nexus and Proportionality: Neither the technologies nor the data collected can be used for other purposes.
  2. Principle of Impermanence: Use of these technologies and data must be limited in time.
  3. Principle of Consent and Trust: Use of technologies should be voluntary and adhere to notice and consent.
  4. Principle of Privacy by Design: The technologies must respect the privacy of users and all their contacts.
  5. Principle of Control: Citizens must be considered the primary owners of data they generate.
  6. Principle of Openness and Transparency: Technologies must be developed using open technologies with code which can be audited and verified.
  7. Principle of Responsiveness: Technologies must be complementary and additional tools for the measures set out by public health authorities.
  8. Principle of Participation: Technologies should consider the needs of all people and include strong feedback loops between policy makers and citizens. Human rights should be taken into account in the selection of solution providers and in the process of technical development.
  9. Principle of Social Innovation: The successful use of these technologies in everyday life requires a focus on social innovation, rather than on technological innovation.
  10. Principle of Fairness and Inclusion: The main goal of technologies must be to provide support and serve all communities, assuring equal accessibility and equal treatment across groups.


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