City for All hackathon is a hit

Pandora for Streets/Smellevation Maps Team

The City for All hackathon was a big civic hit over the weekend. Nine teams competed for recognition and prizes at City Hall’s Bertha Knight Landes room. The theme of the hackathon was to find solutions for the challenges of aging and accessibility. The winner for Best Overall Innovation was the Pandora for Streets/Smellevation Maps team which addressed several of the eight domains of livability in a single app. The app would also include paths in Seattle that present the best smells, sounds, views, and hills. Users can rank how important each aspect is to improve the algorithms of the app. The winner of Best Accessibility Hack was GoInfo Game which gamified the collection of bus stop information that’s crucial for disabled riders. The Winner of Best Use of Open Data and and Best Data Visualization was SeaSidewalks which developed a visualization of data from SDOT’s recent Citywide sidewalk analysis. The team came up with a mechanism for prioritizing sidewalk issues based on factors like proximity to hospitals and other key facilities.


Seattle Information Technology recognized at NATOA Awards in Seattle

Pictured from left to right: Brian Roberts, Jose Vasquez, Delia Burke, Jim Loter, Chance Hunt, Vicky Yuki, Derrick Hall, David Keyes, Chris Alejana, Gabriel Garcia

Big honors were given out to Seattle IT at this year’s annual conference of the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors (NATOA) which took place in Seattle in September. The Digital Engagement Team was honored with two awards. Seattle IT’s Strategic Plan for Facilitating Equitable Access to Wireless Broadband was awarded the 2017 Community Broadband Strategic Plan of the Year. The Technology Matching Fund was awarded the 2017 Community Broadband Digital Equity Project of the Year.

Seattle Channel was named among the best municipal television stations in the nation when it received the prestigious Excellence in Government Programming along with eight other programming awards, including five first-place wins for programming.

Also recognized at the NATOA conference was Tony Perez, director of Seattle’s Office of Cable Communications. Perez, immediate past president and longtime member of NATOA’s Board of Directors, received NATOA’s 2017 Member of the Year award for his contributions to the field, including his leadership, policy development and strategic advice to ensure that communities benefit from the transformational nature of broadband technology.

NATOA is a national association representing the needs and interests of local governments in the areas of communications, broadband and technology. NATOA’s annual government programming awards honor excellence in broadcast, cable, multimedia and electronic programming produced by local government agencies. This year, NATOA received more than 900 entries submitted in 65 categories by local governments across the country.

Day of Action to Save Net Neutrality

July 12, 2017 – The internet is the utility of the 21st century. It brings access to education, economic opportunities, and ultimately an improved quality of life. For more than twenty years the City of Seattle has sought to close the digital divide, making sure that all of our community members can realize the benefits from having access to the internet and the skills necessary to use it.

In recent years our efforts have received strong championship at the federal level. In 2015, the Federal Communications Communication (FCC) passed a rule guaranteeing “Net Neutrality” – meaning all consumers and entrepreneurs would have equal access to internet users. Today this rule, and the opportunity it brings to our community, are under fire.

The current presidential administration and FCC Chairman Ajit Pai threaten to repeal this basic, modern day necessity. Critics of net neutrality believe, among other things, it limits larger companies from expanding and developing new technologies. They think repeals can expand our economy and increase innovation, when in fact, it would do just the opposite.

Those destined to be hurt by possible repeals are the smaller businesses and startups that are vital to Seattle’s economy. Companies like Cleland Marketing know killing network neutrality guarantees will result in increased barriers to market entry.

Katherine Cleland, a small independent business owner who works with digital marketing clients addressed Senator Maria Cantwell and FCC Commission Mignon Clyburn at a recent Town Hall in Seattle Friday, July 7.

“Right now we are in a struggle amongst all of my clients to meet Google’s requirement for load speeds to be at the top of search engine rankings,” said Cleland. “They have made speed one of their top criteria for SEO optimization. When we buy shared server space rather than sole server space we have slower response times and that can drop us off search engines, which is inadvertent because of what we can spend on servers. If that happened at the ISP level, it would be devastating for businesses that needed or wanted to be at the first page of search engine rankings.” 

You can read more about Cleland’s concerns in her personal essay on the City of Seattle’s Net Neutrality site.

She’s just one Seattleite speaking up against the possible net neutrality repeal. Mayor Ed Murray and I hope you will as well. Now, through August 16, 2017, the FCC it is taking comments on this important issue. Join the more than five million Americans who’ve signed the petition and let the FCC know that the internet should be free and open to all. It only takes a few minutes, but those few minutes are vital to keeping the flow of information moving freely, quickly, and most importantly, moving to all of us.

~Chief Technology Officer Michael Mattmiller

FCC Contact Information:
Phone: 1-888-225-5322
File a comment:

To read more about the City’s efforts on the Day of Action to Save Net Neutrality go to





City of Seattle Hires Ginger Armbruster as Chief Privacy Officer

Chief Privacy Officer Ginger Armbruster

The City of Seattle selected Ginger Armbruster as the City’s Chief Privacy Officer. The Chief Privacy Officer will help the City implement and enforce practices that manage data in accordance with the City’s Privacy Principles, which were established by Mayor Edward Murray and City Council. In 2015 the City of Seattle launched its Privacy Program led by the Seattle Information Technology Department (Seattle IT). The Program defined how the City collects, uses and disposes of data. Seattle is one of the first cities in the nation to establish a Privacy Program and Chief Privacy Officer.

“The City has an obligation to earn the public’s trust in how it collects and uses their data,” said City of Seattle Chief Technology Officer Michael Mattmiller. “Ginger’s knowledge and experience working with our community will drive improved privacy practices across City departments and increased public engagement. We are fortunate to have Ginger join our talented workforce.”

“The privacy program we launched in 2015 with input from privacy thought leaders from across the country, our community, industry and City departments is important for our community,” said Armbruster. “I’m excited to get back to building this ground-breaking program.”

“In our digital age where we seem to be losing control of our personal information, its protection is more important than ever,” said Council President Bruce Harrell. “We want the public to feel assured that information that should remain private is managed with a high level of security.”

“Ginger brings her considerable privacy expertise to Seattle at a time when we need to be ever-vigilant to protect citizen privacy,” said State of Washington Chief Privacy Officer Alex Alben. “My office will look forward to working with her to champion privacy for our state!”

“The City of Seattle is a leader in the technology sector, and as such our great city should be at the forefront of protecting the private information of our community members. We at the Community Technology Advisory Board look forward to learning from and collaborating with Ginger to continue leading the discussion on best practices and strategies to better serve our many diverse communities,” said Jose Manuel Vasquez, Community Technology Advisory Board Chairman.

“As a privacy professional and a long-time resident of Seattle that cares deeply about individual privacy rights, I applaud the selection,” said Susan Lyon-Hintze.  “Armbruster has the experience, collaborative skills, and passion needed to lead our city’s efforts to protect privacy in an inclusive yet pragmatic manner,” she added. Lyon-Hintze served on the City’s Privacy Advisory Committee and helped develop the City’s Privacy Principles.

Armbruster previously worked for City, serving as the privacy program manager. She led an interdepartmental effort to establish a principles-based privacy program. She most recently served as a senior privacy manager for Microsoft where she developed and ran the privacy program for Office Marketing.

“I want to ensure the program is robust and mature enough to manage the data collected by the technologies we are currently using to meet the needs of the public we service. Looking long term, I hope to establish a world-class privacy program for the City of Seattle and set an example for others to follow,” said Armbruster.

“Ginger made the Privacy Program happen. She knows what works like a charm and where every hitch and sticking point is. If anyone can ensure its effective and impartial application across the city, she’s the one,” said Jan Bultmann Chair, Board of Directors, Seattle Privacy Coalition.

“Seattle became a national leader with the initiation of its privacy program in 2015. This visionary program was the product of innovative and thoughtful policy-making on the part of Mayor Murray, Michael Mattmiller, and Ginger Armbruster, along with a host of talented individuals currently serving the City of Seattle. With Ginger’s return to the City, we can expect Seattle to once again raise the profile of possibilities for protecting public interests in municipal data, setting an example for cities across the nation to follow,” said Dr. Jan Whittington, Associate Professor of the Department of Urban Design and Planning, at the University of Washington.

Armbruster has an undergraduate degree in political science from Columbia University. In 2013, she received her master’s degree in infrastructure planning and management from the University of Washington as a National Science Foundation grant recipient through the CyberCorps Scholarship for Service Program. The program is designed to increase the number of professionals that protect the government’s critical information infrastructure. Students then work in tribal, local or federal government in a relevant role for two years to fulfill the service requirement of the program. Armbruster completed her service time at the City of Seattle.

Cloud Computing: Essential but challenging

An expert panel on the challenges and opportunities of public sector cloud computing featured Seattle IT Chief Technology Officer Michael Mattmiller. The panel was part of the Amazon Web Services Public Sector Innovation Summit June 13 in Washington D.C. To seize the opportunity presented by data analytics and data-driven governing, cities need to be in the cloud, according to panelists. One key opportunity in cloud computing is maximizing value and resources. Major challenges include security and privacy.

“Privacy is one of the areas that has made transitioning to the cloud challenging,” Mattmiller said. “It goes back to ‘what’s the problem we’re trying to solve?’ This idea of creating a data store where we put all kinds of different data, that is where our public gets concerned and where, as government, we see potential issues.”

In Washington state – which Mattmiller says has ‘one of the most progressive public disclosure laws in the nation’ – Seattle has taken care of making sure that the ‘full picture’ of a citizen’s data is never housed in one place to ensure that privacy remains intact. In May, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray also supported the creation of a new statute called the Seattle IT rule, which requires private companies to obtain permission before selling personal information or browsing data.

In addition, to prepare the City for more migration to the cloud and other digital services going forward, Seattle has hired its first smart city coordinator who starts in late July. This position will work with City agencies and citizens to evangelize the value of smart cities and the work that can be done.

Read the full article about the panel in State Scoop