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San José Adopts First Citywide Privacy Principles

Post Date:09/18/2019

San José, Calif. – The San José City Council yesterday took a significant step to build a comprehensive city privacy policy, with the approval of the city’s privacy principles that will govern the use of digital information across all city services and city-serving vendors. This is a first for the city of San José, which follows only a handful of cities around the country with this type of resident privacy protection.

“Protecting residents’ privacy has been a priority for our office from the beginning. From today on, San Joséans will know exactly what is done with the information that they provide to their city government,” said Mayor Sam Liccardo. “These principles result from months of consultation with community groups, experts in privacy, and organizations like the ACLU, the NAACP, and law enforcement. We’re on the right path to crafting a privacy policy that will safeguard information and build trust between city hall and the community we serve.”

Over the next several months, the city will use the approved principles to craft a comprehensive privacy policy with additional community consultations and expert engagement. The policy will be continually evaluated by stakeholders, and a city government privacy working group, to evolve with shifts in technology, regulations, and the community.

“The impact of technology on our everyday lives is accelerating at a rapid rate. It is essential that our community, which is in the heart of Silicon Valley, is an example of how to balance the benefits of technology with protecting the rights of our residents,” said Shireen Santosham, Chief Innovation Officer for Mayor Liccardo.

“The Privacy Principles define our values and create the north star to guide our privacy policy development,” said Dolan Beckel, Director of the Office of Civic Innovation. “We look forward to continuing to work with the community and privacy experts so we can operationalize a privacy policy to protect the public’s trust as the City increasingly adopts new technologies to better serve our residents.”

Alongside the policy, San José will develop additional resources such as a data retention schedule and a privacy impact assessment toolkit.

Approved San José Privacy Principles:

  • WE VALUE PRIVACY: We affirm that privacy is an inherent human right. San José commits to fully evaluating risks to your privacy before collecting, using, or sharing your information.
  • WE COLLECT ONLY WHAT WE NEED: We collect only what is required to provide and improve City services and comply with the law. We seek community input about what information is used and collected.
  • WE ARE OPEN AND TRANSPARENT: We are transparent about what information we collect, why we collect it, and how it is used. We commit to being open about our actions, policies, and procedures related to your data. We make our policy documents publicly available and easy to understand.
  • WE WILL GIVE YOU CONTROL OVER YOUR DATA: We will provide you with the information to make an informed decision about sharing your data. We have clear processes that ensure data accuracy and provide you visibility into what data the City has collected from you.
  • WE SHARE ONLY WHAT WE NEED: We anonymize your information before we share it outside the City, except in very limited circumstances. Business partners and contracted vendors who receive or collect personal information from us or for us to deliver City services must agree to our privacy requirements.
  • WE DESIGN FOR PRIVACY AND SECURITY: We integrate privacy and security into every aspect of our designs, systems, and processes. We commit to updating our technology and processes to effectively protect your information while under our care. We follow strict protocols in the event your information is compromised.

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Media Contact: Chloe Meyere, Office of Mayor Liccardo; 408-535-4833 or


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