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Cities on cybersecurity alert race to shore up defences

It is the phone call that everybody fears: the dreaded news that your city has been hacked. Amid a spate of public and private sector cyber-attacks, there is a grim acceptance by local government Chief Information Officers (CIOs) that the likelihood of being targeted is a matter of “when” rather than “if”. On a recent online Cities Today roundtable, US CIOs shared the cybersecurity scenarios that are, as one put it, “haunting...

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Texan cities explore data monetisation to raise revenue

Cities in North Texas are evaluating options to monetise their data and assets such as land, buildings, lighting and roads to generate new revenue. The North Texas Innovation Alliance (NTXIA), a regional consortium of municipalities, agencies, companies and academic institutions, has issued a call for solutions via govtech procurement platform Marketplace.city. “A top priority for our membership is to focus on revenue-generating...

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UK councils join forces on digital divide data

Fifteen local authorities in England have teamed up with an educational charity and management consultancy to better understand and address the digital divide. The issue of digital inclusion has come to the fore for cities around the world during the pandemic as everything from working and studying to socialising moved online. The ‘CCIN Policy Lab: Understanding the Digital Divide’ initiative is run through the Co-operative...

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London selects data start-ups to support COVID recovery

A data platform to reduce high street property vacancies, a journey planner for COVID-safe travel and an app to help gig workers understand their earnings are among the finalists in London’s search for solutions to pandemic-related challenges. In February, applications for the Mayor’s £1 million (US$1.42 million) Resilience Fund were opened to companies using data and technology to solve key issues identified as central to the...

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Europe proposes risk-based regulation for AI

The European Commission has laid out its plans for the first legal framework on artificial intelligence (AI). The proposals take a tiered, risk-based approach. Systems deemed to pose an unacceptable risk to the safety, livelihoods and rights of people would be banned. These include tools that allow ‘social scoring’ by governments. Under the Artificial Intelligence Act, the use of real-time biometric identification systems like...

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Boston app rewards shopping local to boost small business recovery

Boston is the latest and largest US city to launch a digital rewards programme to incentivise spending with local businesses. These initiatives have seen growing interest as cities look to economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Through Boston’s four-month pilot, in partnership with Israeli tech start-up Colu, shoppers earn Boston Points automatically at participating businesses when they make purchases with credit or debit...

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Detroit sued over facial recognition arrest error

A man who was wrongfully arrested based on facial recognition technology is suing the City of Detroit, its police chief and a detective. The lawsuit has been filed by the University of Michigan Law School’s Civil Rights Litigation Initiative (CRLI) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on behalf of Robert Williams. The lawsuit says Williams’ experience was the first case of wrongful arrest due to facial recognition...

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Cities urged to engage early on 6G

As they grapple with the pandemic, digital divide and upgrading to 5G, cities could be forgiven for putting 6G planning on the back burner for now. However, as 6G research gathers pace around the world, experts from the Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET) are urging city leaders to make sure they have their say on shaping the next G. Professor Will Stewart, Chair of the IET’s Digital Communications group, called the...