When the World Economic Forum, an independent international organization committed to improving the state of the world, released its 2019 annual report on city risks, the top five were all related to cybersecurity. The Forum recognized the need to address privacy, sustainability and security of smart technologies for municipalities. In order to tackle this issue, they partnered with G20, an international forum for the governments and central bank governors from 19 countries and the European Union.
Together, they created the G20 Global Smart Cities Alliance on Technology Governance. The Alliance comprises fifteen of the world’s leading city networks and technology governance organizations. The partners represent more than 200,000 cities and local governments, leading companies, start-ups, research institutions, and civil society organizations. The World Economic Forum serves as the secretariat.
The purpose of this Alliance is to create new global policy standards for technology management by cities and local governments which are to be released in advance of the G20 2020 Summit that takes place in November. This is the most ambitious undertaking to date to advance the responsible use of smart technology on a global level.
Jeff Merritt, Head of IoT, Robotics and Smart Cities at the World Economic Forum commented, “Smart city technologies offer huge promise, but they can be a Pandora’s box. This Alliance is a critical first step to accelerate global best practices, mitigate risks, and foster greater openness and public trust regarding the collection of data in public spaces.”
With cybersecurity threats increasing and the realization that cyber attacks and theft impacted the GDP by 0.06% last year, the Alliance knew they needed to take some big leaps forward. They established three key goals and began reaching out to find experts that could help bring them to fruition.
In order to achieve these goals, the Alliance will develop, pilot and implement global policy standards for safe and ethical use of data collected by smart city technologies. As the Alliance looked for key experts that could help to deliver on Alliance goals, Blacksands was flagged as a leader in smart city cybersecurity thanks to earning five notable cybersecurity awards, their role in the AcceliGOV competition, and solid experience helping municipalities to tackle the difficult task of secure access in a distributed and zero-trust environment. Blacksands CEO, Nathan Pawl, was asked to join the Alliance to contribute his expertise.
As part of Pawl’s role on the Alliance, he is responsible for building a zero-trust framework for smart cities to follow. To help achieve this, he is asking for input from IT leadership in municipalities to advise on the biggest security challenges they are facing. Pawl is interested in what is working and what is not—particularly now that Covid-19 has disrupted technology initiatives and made resiliency more important than ever. Pawl is holding interviews throughout July, 2020 and encourages those who want their challenges addressed by the Alliance to contact him.
“I’m honored to have been included in this important initiative,” states Pawl. “I am working with cities of all sizes helping them to address their need for simple security solutions that provide smart access as needed assuming a zero-trust environment. That said, I am certain that I haven’t seen everything that smart cities are challenged with. Speaking with as many IT leaders as possible will ensure that the outcomes of the Alliance will help meet the needs of our struggling communities.”
“The foundational assumption of the framework we are building is that cybersecurity needs to be effective, yet simple,” exclaims Pawl. “Due to the lack of trained resources, current employees need to be able to deliver on the promise to residents of data privacy and security. Period. These technology standards and frameworks will help them to do that efficiently.”
In addition to calling for input from city IT leaders, Pawl also commits to sharing his findings with those leaders and any others interested in getting an insider look into the zero-trust framework as it develops.. Visit the page where Pawl will add interview summaries, blog posts and updates to stay informed on this ground breaking initiative.
“The rapid development of technology is transforming physical and social infrastructure,” said Gino Van Begin, Secretary General of ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability. “Smart cities look at the big picture, supporting resource efficiency and technological progress while considering rising challenges like cybersecurity, job loss and privacy.”
Nathan Giles, Senior Manager Digital IX.O, Engineering, Capital Projects at Accenture, takes the urgency a step further and encourages IT leaders to follow this journey saying that, “Organizations are already struggling due to the COVID pandemic. If they are not proactive, they may well be faced with a second, cyber-pandemic that may prove to be even more devastating to their businesses.”
Click here to request an interview with Nathan Pawl so your voice can be included in the zero-trust framework for the G20 Summit.