News Flash: Personal Data Tools Take Root in the Netherlands

Three-year pilot in Amsterdam and Barcelona highlights how to digitally empower citizens

Following a three-year pilot in Amsterdam, the Netherlands plans to expand its usage of new tools that give citizens control over their personal data, according to a report by Cities Today. Along with Barcelona, Amsterdam has been testing a solution developed by a Europe-wide consortium of 14 partners to enable individuals to control whether they keep their personal data private or share it for the public good.

Funded by the EU’s Horizon 2020 initiative, the DECODE solution enabled participants in Amsterdam and Barcelona to sign political petitions, share data from sensors monitoring noise and air pollution with their communities and council, and prove their identity without having to disclose sensitive information. “As a spin-off of DECODE, Amsterdam invested in a digital identity project,” Aik van Eemeren, Head of Public Technology, City of Amsterdam, told Cities Today. “We tested data control solutions, broader than those used in DECODE, such as the attribute-based credential system IRMA. The results are now influencing national decisions on the use of digital identity.”

The report said the City of Amsterdam is advocating the use of the DECODE principles for the Dutch national holiday rental registry and permit system. “Procurement starts soon and the product has to be up and running by the end of this year,” van Eemeren added.  “From R&D in DECODE we are moving to a national solution within a year of the end of DECODE, which is designed to scale Europe-wide, or globally.”

DECODE could become “the new public infrastructure of the 21st century”, according to Tom Symons, head of government innovation at Nesta, one of the partners in the DECODE project. “Now we are calling for city, national and EU governments to commit to providing the funding and support needed for this model to really take off,” he told Smart Cities World.

To read the Cities Today article click here and to read the Smart Cities World article click here