Council to Vote on Legislation to Protect Personal Information and Create a Comprehensive Privacy Policy for the City of New York

Council will also vote to Prohibit the Nonconsensual Distribution of Sexually Explicit Media and to Create a Website and Mobile Application to Facilitate Online Voter Registration

 

City Hall – Today, the New York City Council will vote on legislation announced during Speaker Mark-Viverito’s 2017 State of the City address creating a system to protect personal information held by the City, as well as to protect locations where New Yorkers receive services by limiting access. The Council will also vote to prohibit the nonconsensual distribution of explicit sexual media, commonly known as “revenge porn,” and to establish a website and mobile application to facilitate online voter registration. Next, the Council will vote to require reporting on certain elements of motor vehicle collisions, the development of strategies to enhance traffic safety near schools, and the creation of a hit-and-run alert system. In addition, the Council will vote on codifying Health Code submission requirements, and creating a long-term energy plan and policy advisory subcommittee. The Council will also vote on updating and extending open data compliance protocols for city agencies, and noticing class two property owners of housing affordability programs and rent-stabilization registration requirements. Finally, the Council will vote on the rezoning of 3 Livonia Place in Brooklyn to allow for a non-profit supportive housing development.

Protecting Personal Information and Creating a Comprehensive City Privacy Policy

City employees and contractors interact with millions of residents each year, from providing services and benefits to processing professional licenses. New Yorkers give their information to the City with the expectation that it will be kept confidential and only used for their benefit. The vast amount of information the City uses can help in providing better and more efficient services, but it also creates serious potential for misuse, including improper disclosures and needless collection or retention.

Introduction 1557-A, sponsored by Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, would require every City agency to report on their data collection, retention, and disclosure policies and current practices. A newly established Chief Privacy Officer and interagency committee would review those reports and develop new, detailed protocols for protecting identifying information.

“In this digital age, respecting and valuing New Yorkers’ privacy is essential and we as the City’s legislative body will do everything in our power to ensure they are protected. Introduction 1557-A and Introduction 1588-A would require the creation of a Chief Privacy Officer and actions to guarantee our City’s residents personal information will not be compromised. I thank Council Member Jumaane Williams for his bill and his work to protect all New Yorkers,” said Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito.

Introduction 1588-A, sponsored by Council Member Jumaane Williams and Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, would require City employees and contractors to protect all identifying information—including contact information, sexual orientation, religion, and immigration status—by limiting its collection, disclosure, and retention, except where required by law. Requests for the collection or disclosure of identifying information would be processed by a newly established privacy officer within each agency who would analyze whether the collection or disclosure would further the purpose or mission of the agency.

“For years, it has become increasingly clear that the personal data of citizens needs to be emphatically and unequivocally protected,” said Council Member Jumaane Williams. “New York City has already stood strong in that defense technologically, taking steps to protect data from being accessed by hackers and other bad actors. But in this time, it’s important that we recognize those bad actors can come from anywhere, and these bills provide a safeguard against New Yorker’s private data being accessed and utilized to unjust ends. In addition to ensuring that information is not collected and used unnecessarily, this bill creates the position of Privacy Officer to review whether such information collection or disclosure is justified. In conjunction with Speaker Mark-Viverito’s bill, this will provide much needed protections for New Yorkers in this digital age.”

Securing Locations Where New Yorkers Receive Services

Possible safety and privacy concerns can deter New Yorkers from seeking City services, leaving them without critical supports and potentially weakening trust with the City. Currently, there is no uniform policy dictating who has access to these sensitive locations.

Introduction 1579-A, sponsored by Council Member Carlos Menchaca and Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, would restrict access to non-public areas of City property, as well as locations where human services contractors provide services. Under the bill, non-local government personnel authorized to enforce civil or criminal laws will not be permitted to access non-public areas of city property, unless:

  • the city has entered into an agreement, contract, or cooperative agreement granting access;
  • access is required by a judicial warrant or local, state, or federal law;
  • access furthers the purpose or mission of a city agency;
  • or exigent circumstances exist.

These access requirements would also apply to human services contractors, whether or not their services are provided on city property.

“I sponsored Introduction 1579-A to protect New Yorkers and uphold public safety,” said Council Member Carlos Menchaca. “We will preserve public safety and protect New York City residents from non-local law enforcement when they are interacting with city government. New York City is a sanctuary city. My City Council colleagues and I are fully committed to protecting our residents. In the same way we have protected students at school, patients in hospitals and residents seeking justice in our courts, we have to protect everyone who seeks assistance.”

Prohibiting the Nonconsensual Distribution of Sexually Explicit Media

While State law prohibits taking photos or videos of a person in intimate or sexual situations without their consent, it currently permits sharing these types of photos or videos if they were taken consensually. Sharing these types of photos or videos between intimate partners is increasingly common in younger communities, and when one partner maliciously distributes these videos widely, it can have a devastating and permanent impact on victims. This practice, commonly referred to as “revenge porn,” is often a component of relationships involving domestic violence. Even the threat of “revenge porn” can be used as a means of control in such relationships.

Introduction 1267-A, sponsored by Council Member Rory Lancman, would prohibit the nonconsensual distribution of sexually explicit videos or images of another person, with the intent to cause harm to the person depicted in such videos or images. The bill also prohibits any legitimate threat to do so. The bill creates both a criminal penalty and a civil cause of action, and contains limited exceptions.

“With passage of this landmark legislation, New York City finally calls revenge porn exactly what it is: a crime,” said Committee on Courts and Legal Services Chair Rory Lancman. “For too long, our laws failed to keep up with our technology, leaving victims of revenge porn unable to seek justice and hold perpetrators accountable. That changes today. Criminalizing revenge porn will ensure New Yorkers are protected and those who take part in this despicable conduct will face serious consequences. I commend the victim advocates, law enforcement personnel and revenge porn survivors who raised their voices to make this day a reality.”

Establishing a Website and Mobile Application to Facilitate Online Voter Registration

In New York, there is currently no universal online voter registration portal. The Department of Motor Vehicles maintains an online voter registration portal but it requires either a Driver’s License or a Non-Driver ID, and, particularly in New York City, not every person eligible to vote has such identification.

Introduction 508-A, sponsored by Council Member Ben Kallos, would require the Campaign Finance Board (CFB) to create a website and mobile application that allows individuals to complete voter registration forms online. All notices and information on an existing voter registration form would be presented to the user, as well as additional information regarding timeframes and deadlines. The CFB would then collect and transmit those forms to the Board of Elections.

“Democracy should be a click away. We are used to filling out forms online with the click of a mouse and voter registration should be no different. You should be registered and receive a confirmation by email, just as with any other website,” said Committee on Governmental Operations Chair Ben Kallos. “Barriers to registration must be removed so that anyone who is eligible to register can do so quickly and easily.”

Requiring Reporting and Strategy Development to Enhance Traffic Safety

Introduction 1116-A, sponsored by Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer, would codify the Vision Zero View portal in the Administrative Code and would require the Commissioner of Transportation to publish a map showing the approximate locations of motor vehicle related injuries and fatalities in the city in a manner that allows users to disaggregate crash data by year, month, and time of day of occurrence. Additionally, this bill would require the Commissioner to publish summaries of recent design improvements that the Department of Transportation has made to city streets for the purpose of enhancing motorist, passenger, cyclist or pedestrian safety.

Introduction 1257-A, sponsored by Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer, would require the Department of Transportation to develop strategies for enhancing pedestrian and traffic safety near schools in the city and to provide a report on a biennial basis describing such strategies, including information on whether the safety strategies have been implemented and their implementation status.

“I am delighted that the Council will vote today on two bills I sponsored to make our City’s streets safer,” said Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer. “These bills will ensure that authorities use current transportation data to enhance traffic safety around a minimum of 50 schools every two years. They will also ensure that authorities report in detail data collected from motor vehicle accidents throughout the city as well as recent traffic design improvements in an interactive map which will be available to the public at all times. I’m very proud to be the author of legislation that will help make our streets safer for all – especially for our children.”

Instituting a Public Alert System for Hit-and-Run Incidents

Introduction 1463-A, sponsored by Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, would require the City to establish an alert system to notify the public and media of hit-and-run incidents resulting in serious injury or fatality, in order to assist in the identification of drivers responsible for these incidents.

“From January to September 42 hit-and-run crashes were reported and only 18 arrests were made. We cannot tolerate these crimes knowing that families are left destroyed and mourning the loss of a loved one,” said Committee on Transportation Chair Ydanis Rodriguez. “This irresponsible driving behavior has triggered me to advocate for an Alert System for the purpose of increasing the number of hit-and-run arrests in NYC. Using technology already available to us to make New Yorkers aware of hit-and-run crashes that resulted in severe physical harm or death will make the over 8 million New Yorkers a resource for the NYPD in finding the suspect.”

Codifying Water Tank Inspection Requirements and Public Access to Results

Introduction 657-A, sponsored by Council Member Dan Garodnick, would codify in the Administrative Code the submission requirement that currently exists in the Health Code, and require DOHMH to post documentation of annual inspections on its website and the City’s Open Data portal. DOHMH would also be required to provide guidance on its site to assist users in determining whether a building is required to have a water tank inspection, and to post information on how to submit a complaint about a water tank or water from a water tank. This bill would reinstate a lapsed requirement of annual reporting by DOHMH to the Council relating to water tank inspections, and introduce a new requirement that such reports include data on the number of inspection results received, including the number of received results that demonstrate compliance with the health-related requirements for water tanks.

“New York City is known to have some of the best tap water in the world, yet, for too long, the inspection results for residential water tanks were shrouded in secrecy,” said Council Member Dan Garodnick. “This legislation bolsters transparency and accountability in reporting these results, better ensuring that our water is safe to drink.”

Creating a Long-Term Energy Plan and Policy Advisory Subcommittee

Introduction 1637-A, sponsored by Council Member Corey Johnson, would create a long-term energy plan in 2019 and every four years thereafter and establish a city energy policy advisory subcommittee of the City’s sustainability advisory board.

“Long-terming planning is crucial on the issues that will affect our City for generations to come,” said Council Member Corey Johnson. “My bill will bring together a task force to create specific recommendations for achieving the laudable clean energy goals set by Mayor de Blasio. I’d like to thank Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Environmental Protection Chair Costa Constantinides for their leadership and support of this legislation.”

Updating and Extending Open Data Compliance Protocol for City Agencies

Introduction 1528-A, sponsored by Council Member James Vacca, would require updates to the agency compliance plan, to include the names of public datasets provided in response to Freedom of Information Law requests when such datasets were not included on the Open Data Portal.

Introduction 1707-A, sponsored by Council Member James Vacca, would extend the time agencies have to complete their open data compliance plan; it would codify agency’s existing practice of designating an employee to be the agency’s open data coordinator; it requires the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications to collect, analyze, and publish site analytics of the open data portal; and it requires the creation of a master list to track all public data sets scheduled for publication.

“New York City already has one of the best Open Data systems and some of the most extensive Open Data Laws in the country,” said Committee on Technology Chair James Vacca. “However, as City agencies become more experienced with the intricacies of data publication and technologies advance, there is always room for improvement. These two bills do exactly that, updating and strengthening the City’s Open Data laws.”

Noticing Class Two Property Owners of Programs and Registration Requirements

Introduction 1722-A, sponsored by Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, would amend the administrative code of the city of New York, in relation to providing notice to class two property owners about registration of rent-stabilized units and housing affordability programs.

“As costs of living in New York City rise, it’s imperative that we proactively protect affordability in our communities and ensure that residents can make ends meet in the neighborhoods they helped build. Intro. 1722-A would inform property owners of their obligation to register any rent stabilized units in their building with the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal, as well as provide them information regarding financing programs administered by the Department of Housing Preservation and Development to facilitate affordability for their residents. This is an important step in providing landlords resources they can use to preserve and increase affordable housing for New Yorkers,” said Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito.

The City Council will also vote on the following land use item…

Rezoning of 3 Livonia Place in Brooklyn

The New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development has requested to establish a Mandatory Inclusionary Housing Area permit and Urban Development Action Area Project designation to facilitate the construction of additional non-profit supportive housing for the community. The proposed development would feature an eight story building with 125 supportive and affordable housing units, with at least 60% of all units reserved for formerly homeless households. The ground floor would be equipped with over 3,000 square feet of retail or community facility space.

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