December 12, 2021, reading time 4 minutes

The digitalization of our city is an irreversible process. More and more services are run online, we use smart cameras to monitor which vehicles can enter the environmental zones in the inner city, and data-driven technologies will soon predict where there is still parking space in Amsterdam. All these kinds of technologies offer great opportunities. However, there are also major risks involved, especially when it concerns personal data. A poignant example of this occurred with the recent tax authorities scandal, where parents with a second nationality were checked more strictly than others.

More control as a city 

Digitalisation is irreversible, but not uncontrollable. GroenLinks wants this digitalisation to develop according to human values ​​and standards. For example, technology must increase our freedom and autonomy, be free from discrimination, and be transparent for all concerned. Data-driven technology should not increase social inequality in society. In fact, technology can actually be used to reduce inequality. Our public values ​​should guide technology, not the other way around. The Amsterdam city council is already taking good steps in this regard, for example by publishing a public algorithm register that shows which algorithms are involved in decision-making that affects Amsterdammers.

With the submitted proposal, GroenLinks asks the council to look into additional ways in which public values ​​can be better anchored in all domains of municipal policy where tech is involved: from mobility to education, and from security to housing. We propose various options, such as a mandatory technology paragraph for new policy or setting up a permanent group of experts, civil servants and citizens that advise and check on new innovations.

The goal of this proposal is to safeguard human and public values ​​in every project where technology is used and to promote technological citizenship. The participation of citizens and civil servants can help to increase technological awareness, greater trust and acceptance of new technologies and a broader view of technology.