PublicSpaces / Conference

When billboards stare back šŸ‘€

Cities Coalition for Digital Rights

May 18 14:00 - 15:00 @

Language: English.

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Panel session about privacy in the physical public space, organized by Cities Coalition for Digital Rights.

Data-collecting technology has developed at an unprecedented speed in recent years with a strong increase in the public space. However, understanding of what has been termed the "digital public space" is still lacking, i.e. the data collection using private sensors in physical public spaces. Examples include eye-tracking cameras built into billboards, or debt collecting companies, indiscriminately mass scanning license plates in city spaces. The report ā€˜Privacy in Public Spaces: When Billboards Stare Backā€™ investigates how municipalities and cities can and should handle these developments. During this session, the report will be launched. Panelists will discuss the need for a common understanding between European cities on how to deal with (third party) privacy issues in public space and give examples that will support European cities in dealing with privacy infringements of their citizens.

This report is launched by the Cities Coalition for Digital Rights, City of Amsterdam and UK innovation foundation Nesta. It seeks to address the question how cities and regions can protect the privacy of their residents, especially when it comes to private sector data collection. Cities often are not aware of their specific regulatory powers when it comes to preventing companies from invading citizensā€™ privacy by collecting sensitive data on a large scale. 

The CC4DR is a network of 50+ cities worldwide helping each other in the green field of digital rights-based policy making. They are committed to promoting and defending digital rights in urban contexts through urban actions, to solve common digital challenges, and to work on legal, ethical and operational frameworks to promote human rights in digital environments.

The CC4DR commissioned British innovation foundation Nesta to explore how European cities and regions can protect the privacy of their residents, especially when it comes to private sector data. 


Program concept:

-             Introductions

-             Presentation: When billboards stare back

-             Summary of current developments in Europe and best practices

-             Privacy in public spaces ā€“ statements to discuss

-             Our way forward: thinking in solutions. Conclusions and wrap-up.



  • Milou Janssen, CC4DR



  • Milou Janssen, CC4DR
  • Tomislav Marsic, Nesta
  • Elisabeth IJmker, Gemeente Amsterdam
  • Socrates Schouten, Waag
  • Thijs Turel, AMS