Nairobi, 7 January 2020 – The Cities Coalition for Digital Rights rounded up the end of 2019 with a review of the work done throughout the year.

The coalition, formed by Amsterdam, Barcelona and New York in November 2018 and now supported by UN-Habitat, UN Office of Human Rights, UCLG and Eurocities, aims to protect and uphold human rights on the internet at the local and global level.

With increasing reliance on the internet comes the need to protect and respect basic human rights for all in the digital realm. Globally, six out of ten people are not connected to the internet, and violation of human rights including shutdowns, targeting of activists and journalists for their online activities, collection of personal data without consent, and digital surveillance persist. The Cities Coalition for Digital Rights is committed to harnessing technology, to improve the lives of people and support communities in cities by providing trustworthy and secure digital services and infrastructure.

The coalition aims to share best practices, learn from each other’s challenges and successes, and coordinate common initiatives and actions. Inspired by the Internet Rights and Principles Coalition (IRPC), the work of 300 international stakeholders over the past ten years, the Cities Coalition for Digital Rights are committed to the following five evolving principles:

   1. Universal and equal access to the internet, and digital literacy

Everyone should have access to affordable and accessible internet and digital services on equal terms, as well as the digital skills to make use of this access and overcome the digital divide.

   2. Privacy, data protection and security

Everyone should have privacy and control over their personal information through data protection in both physical and virtual places, to ensure digital confidentiality, security, dignity and anonymity, and sovereignty over their data, including the right to know what happens to their data, who uses it and for what purposes.

   3. Transparency, accountability, and non-discrimination of data, content and algorithms

Everyone should have access to understandable and accurate information about the technological, algorithmic and artificial intelligence systems that impact their lives, and the ability to question and change unfair, biased or discriminatory systems.

   4. Participatory Democracy, diversity and inclusion

Everyone should have full representation on the internet, and the ability collectively to engage with the city through open, participatory and transparent digital processes. Everyone should have the opportunities to participate in shaping local digital infrastructures and services and, more generally, city policy-making for the common good.

   5. Open and ethical digital service standards

Everyone should be able to use the technologies of their choice, and expect the same level of interoperability, inclusion and opportunity in their digital services. Cities should define their own technological infrastructures, services and agenda, through open and ethical digital service standards and data to ensure that they live up to this promise.

45 Cities:

To date 45 cities have formally confirmed to endorse the 5 principles of the Cities Coalition for Digital Rights. The new cities include Athens, Bratislava, Cary, Chicago, Grenoble, Helsinki, Kansas City, London, Los Angeles, Lyon, Milan, Moscow, Philadelphia, Portland, San Jose, Tirana, Torino, Vienna and Zaragoza.

Cities who would like to sign and learn more about the coalition, please review the checklist of digital rights actions and fill out this form to formally indicate your interest in joining. For more information, contact:

For more details, visit

Download the declaration here.


Upcoming events for the Cities Coalition for Digital Rights:

  • March: Milano Digital Week: Digital Rights working sessions and key-note discussions.

  • Webinars: The webinars will continue; every last Thursday of the month.

Looking back:

A video from Cities Today. On 5 March 2019, the chief technology officers of Amsterdam, Barcelona and New York launched a joint initiative to better protect people's digital rights. Cities Today spoke with them about the importance of the Cities Coalition for Digital Rights.