The public sector has been rapidly adopting smart city technologies in areas ranging from law enforcement to transportation to healthcare. Smart city technologies have implications on a wide range of fundamental human rights recognized by international and European sources for human right protection. To mitigate these risks, several scientific communities as well as the EU lawmaker have proposed human rights-based approaches (HRBA) to govern algorithmic, biometric and smart city technologies. To understand the role of and opportunities for HRBA in the governance of smart city technologies, it is crucial to recognize that the emerging literature on HRBA and smart cities falls into two distinct streams, which do not always acknowledge and interact with one another: HRBA by design and HRBA in cities. In the former, human rights protections shape the design of the technology ex ante. The latter proposes more aspirational human rights-informed city governance that often goes beyond cities’ constitutionally mandated legal obligations to commit to human and fundamental rights. In this presentation, Alina Wernick will explain in more detail the theoretic background of each of the approaches in the light on recent research on the human rights impact of algorithmic, biometric and smart city technologies published in the Internet Policy Review Special Issue
she co-edited on the topic.