Open data embraces the beauty of a more transparent government,” said NYC Councilspeaker Quinn. “It is the building block of the digital age.
The City Council voted unanimously on Thursday to approve a bill that will create a crime mapping database, allowing the public for the first time to view and search reports of criminal activity at a neighborhood level.
But even now, in an era of hyper-localization, of neighborhood blogs and Patch sites, many of us have little sense of what our community boards are doing, little time to pay attention, and the boards in turn often are short-staffed and cannot possibly disseminate information on every issue.
The three-page [NYPD] order dated Monday details online behavior that could land officers in trouble, including posting photos of other officers, tagging them in photos or putting photos of themselves in uniform — except at police ceremonies — on any social media site.
Transparency, at very minimum, needs to be a two-way street — not an ever-present, top-down panopticon.
Is the situation really so hopeless? Perhaps. But it’s certainly easier to think so when you preside over a paramilitary police force that frequently receives healthy doses of grant money from the US Department of Homeland Security to implement such surveillance programs. For years the NYPD has been using those resources to do things like infiltrate Muslim communities, employing alarmingly aggressive tactics in an attempt to ensnare average citizens as “terrorist suspects.” More recently, the department has come under fire for its infamous “Stop and Frisk” program, which establishes quotas for officers to search random passersby, and overwhelmingly antagonizes black and hispanic men in low-income neighborhoods.
There’s a deep, deep relationship between New Yorkers and their government,” Mr. Flowers said, “and that relationship is captured in the data.
New York City wants to launch a pilot program for “e-Hailing” NYC taxis. With E-hailing, you use your smartphone to virtually hail a nearby cab, then pay using a pre-stored credit card. It’s awesome, and lots of other cities are already up and running with it.
Unfortunately, NYC is on the brink of losing this opportunity. A group of car service companies, in a misguided attempt to protect their own businesses at the expense of the convenience of New Yorkers and visitors alike, is suing the city to block the pilot program.
E-hailing is already part of the transportation experience in London, Dublin, Toronto, Chicago, Boston, and San Francisco, among others. Drivers and passengers in those towns have instantly adopted it as the new norm, and love it for its convenience the boost it gives the taxi industry. They will never look back. Without it, New Yorkers will feel like second class global citizens.
E-Hail apps like Hailo, Flywheel, and Uber have proven they will improve the livelihood of taxi drivers and the quality of life for their customers, and will do the same for New Yorkers.
Let’s not miss this opportunity. Let’s tell NYC, the taxi industry and the courts that we want NYC’s transportation network to be world class, and that e-Hailing is a critical step on that path.
Reblog this and Sign the damn petition!