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Digital transparency in the public realm

We are starting a dialogue on data collection in the public realm. 

Boston is considering interconnected sensors in our public spaces. We believe people should be able to quickly understand how data collection technologies work, and the purposes they serve. We're putting in place an infrastructure to:

  • alert residents of data collection in the public realm, and
  • solicit their feedback.

Building a common language

Starting the discussion

We value the privacy and security of our residents. We think they are best equipped to evaluate what data we should collect as a City. We partnered with Helpful Places to test out open-source iconography for sensors in the public realm and start a dialogue on how to appropriately use technology. 

OUr GoaL 

Our aim is to enable residents to actively take part in shaping our data collection practices. We want to ensure residents stay informed on the current technologies we use in the public realm and can provide feedback.

Co-Creating iconography

A common language is the first step towards a culture of transparent and contestable data management. The digital transparency in the public realm (DTPR) taxonomy was developed to quickly inform residents about: 

  • The purpose of data collection
  • The technology used 
  • Who is accountable for the project outcomes
  • What happens to the collected data

Learn more about the icons we use and what they mean.

The Experience

The Experience
See the Sensor
  • Notice the icons
  • Scan the QR code
Learn about the data collected
  • Understand the purpose of the data collection
  • Get informed about how your data is used
Tell us what you think
  • Share your thoughts on this method of data collection
  • Help us improve this experience 

See the signage

DTPR stickers at tremont and boylston
DTPR signage at Tremont and Boylston streets

DTPR stickers at Kenmore lyft zone
DTPR stickers marking a ride share study zone in Kenmore Square

DTPR stickers on a signal pole
A closeup of the signage in Jamaica Plain

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