What does digital justice mean in Portland?

News Article
The Smart City PDX team coordinated with different equity groups within the City of Portland government to develop a working definition for digital justice. Digital justice intends to become a core value in future policies and work on information and technology.

The City of Portland created a new city code title 34 titled ‘Digital Justice’. This new code title was part of the development of the ban on face recognition technologies by private entities.

Digital justice creates protections and opportunities for Portlanders and visitors. Our Smart City team recognizes the need to define ‘digital justice’. It is a strategy to incorporate anti-racism and social justice into our priorities, policies, programs and plans.

The draft definition is the result of a collective effort, including the Office of Equity and Human Rights, City of Portland equity managers and the citywide equity practitioners networks. The process also included staff from the Office of Community Technology and the City Open Data network.

The Smart City PDX team is grateful for all the time and shared expertise that City staff has put into this working definition. Now, we are asking for public feedback and comments to improve the definition of ‘digital justice’.

We have put together a report explaining how this definition came to live. Download the report:

This is the City of Portland’s draft definition of digital justice:

Digital justice is the equitable treatment of all people in technology and information, regardless of race, abilities, gender, age, personal circumstances or social context. Digital justice ensures that people have the digital rights and resources they need to thrive—including access to digital infrastructure, shared ownership of digital resources, data protection, and open and accountable digital governance.

All data collected from digital interactions of individuals must be subjected to laws and governance structures that assure personal self-sovereignty that allows individuals to create and have full control of their data. Individuals are entitled to demand control and consent on how their data and information is stored, protected, shared, who has access to it, and how it is processed.

Data is better understood when it is accessible in the native language of the individual, when the descriptive language matches the individual level of understanding on the issue that data intends to represent, and when it is ready for assistive technology through the whole life cycle including, collection, processing, access, visualizations, and reporting.

Digital Justice must be an instrument of individual and collective empowerment, as well as the conduct for building equitable wealth, inclusion and governance relationships with transparency and accountability, and do not marginalize or increase disparities impacting BIPOC communities and people with disabilities.

The Smart City PDX team is working on how to engage the community meaningfully. We intend to improve this working definition with your comments and questions. Future events are being planned in the coming months.

Are you curious about the notes in our internal city brainstorming session? Look at these notes.