My Response To NYC’s CTO

The Beta NYC civic hacking group met with New York City’s First Chief Technology Officer. She made it clear that the City’s IT policy, technology, data, leadership, and services need to accessible to all New Yorkers. She also posed two questions to the membership:

  • What do you want to see from NYC’s CTO and the Mayor’s office of Technology and Innovation?

  • Where do you see civic engagement in 10 years?

These are my responses:


What do you want to see from the NYC’s CTO?

I believe NYC should take a bold and progressive step into the future and provide subsidized, low-cost .nyc domain purchasing and hosting options with full customer support and easy instructions for underrepresented communities and people with low income to set up their own web resources (WordPress blogs, wikis, whatever). Like a “housing authority” for the online realm that helps bridge the digital divide. I want to see ISP.NYC, municipal community cloud and computer resources made available to the public. I also want to see inexpensive municipal broadband provided to all the underserved areas of NYC. I think it’s also crucial that place and location-based domain names be reserved by the city in the public interest for community use – not just neighborhood names, but also historic and vital landmarks, streets, parks, and areas like ArthurAvenue.nyc, McGorlickPark.nyc and so forth.

Where do you see civic engagement in 10 years?

I believe everything revolves around data and I think that citizens will provide more and more data to the city, and that the city will need to provide more and more data to the people. The “Internet of things” will really be “the networked city” and data will need to flow back and forth freely. If we don’t become a totalitarian, authoritarian surveillance state, we will become a public sousveillance city where everyone lives in full view of everyone else. Civic engagement will have to deal with this as well as with empowered communities that want to crowdsource solutions to the problems that concern them – municipal government needs to enable that type of activity more and more.