New York CIty Council Member Ben Kallos


<P>Technology is the great equalizer. In a world where knowledge is power, the Internet provides access to an information superhighway where anyone can learn anything from a better golf swing to a new programming language which provides them with a marketable skill and access to new jobs.</P><P>As a student at the&nbsp;<a href="; target="_BLANK"><strong>Bronx High School of Science</strong></a>, having access to the Internet gave me the opportunity to found a technology consulting firm, featured in the&nbsp;<a href="…; target="_BLANK"><strong>New York Times</strong></a>. My firm went on to provide services to the&nbsp;<a href="; target="_BLANK"><strong>New York Football Giants</strong></a>,&nbsp;<a href="; target="_BLANK"><strong>Pfizer Pharmaceuticals</strong></a>,&nbsp;<a href="http:/; target="_BLANK"><strong>North Shore University Hospital</strong></a>&nbsp;and the State University of New York at&nbsp;<a href="; target="_BLANK"><strong>Albany</strong></a>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<a href="; target="_BLANK"><strong>Buffalo</strong></a>. After financing my education, I used these skills to found&nbsp;<a href="; target="_BLANK"><strong></strong></a>, which has recently partnered with&nbsp;<a href="; target="_BLANK"><strong></strong></a>&nbsp;for a global shared law,&nbsp;<a href="; target="_BLANK"><strong></strong></a>&nbsp;to help 12 million New Yorkers verify their voter registrations, and <A HREF="; TARGET="_BLANK"><STRONG></STRONG></A> to put all the voting records for the New York City and State Legislators online for free.</P><P>As your City Council member I will leverage technology to make our government is <strong>transparent, accountable, and open</strong>. We will make City Hall <strong>transparent</strong> by adopting&nbsp;<a href="; target="_BLANK"><strong>Open Government Data Principles</strong></a>, so that information like our laws and our budgets will be made freely available to the public to use in making government <strong>accountable</strong> with projects like <a href="; target="_BLANK"><strong>Open Congress</strong></a>, <a href="; target="_BLANK"><strong></strong></a> and <a href="; target="_BLANK"><strong>Project Sunlight</strong></a>. I will also fight to open the flood gates of knowledge by supporting our public libraries and advocating for free universal wireless so that every New York City resident has the same opportunity to learn from these valuable resources. I will also advocate for use of&nbsp;<a href="; target="_BLANK"><strong>Free and Open Source Software (FOSS)</strong></a>&nbsp;in government to save billions a year, reinvigorate New York City's technology sector, and to create new jobs in a City that once boasted "<a href="; target="_BLANK"><strong>Silicon Alley</strong></a>."</P><P><EM>Many of the ideas from this platform have already been partially adopted by Mayor Mike Bloomberg as part of his initiative for a "<A HREF="; TARGET="_BLANK"><STRONG>Connected City</STRONG></A>."</EM></P>

WIRED A New York Lawmaker Wants to Ban Police Use of Armed Robots by Sidney Fussell

A New York Lawmaker Wants to Ban Police Use of Armed Robots

“I’m concerned that a democracy is turning domestic police into a militarized zone,” she says.

This increasing militarization is part of why Kallos, the New York councilmember, wants to “avoid investing in an ever escalating arms race when these dollars could be better spent” elsewhere.

Lin, the Cal Poly professor, worries that many police officers do not live in the communities they patrol, and remote policing could worsen an “us-versus-them” divide. The Digidog would not be banned under Kallos' bill, but Lin says military drones offer a cautionary tale. They too began strictly as reconnaissance devices before being weaponized.

Kallos and Silicon Harlem Applaud Free Broadband for Students from Charter and Call on All Other Providers to Do the Same

Friday, March 13, 2020

Statement from Council Member Ben Kallos:

Technology is going to be a major tool in fighting the spread of novel coronavirus, but only for those who aren't trapped on the wrong side of the digital divide.

We've worked with Charter to bridge the digital divide with Internet Assist for students on free and reduced lunch or seniors receiving supplemental social security. Today, Charter announced free broadband and Wi-Fi for every student K-12 to college who does not already have broadband for the next 60 days.

Free and low-cost broadband for all students is the key element we needed to allow our children to continue their learning in the safety and security of their homes.

Thank you to Silicon Harlem for their leadership and partnership. Thank you to Charter for leading by example and I call on every other phone and cable internet provider to take similar steps to save us all.


Statement from Clayton Banks Co-Founder and CEO of Silicon Harlem:

The 2020 pandemic sheds light on the need for connectivity, devices, and digital literacy for our workforce, students, and underserved communities. I stand with Ben Kallos, and commend the effort of Charter to be a part of the solution.

City and State Holden, Kallos to propose new city ‘moonshot’ division by Annie McDonough

Holden, Kallos to propose new city ‘moonshot’ division

Holden, Kallos to propose new city ‘moonshot’ division

Two New York City lawmakers are launching a moonshot bid to introduce more technological expertise to city government.

Councilmembers Ben Kallos and Robert Holden – who chairs the Council’s Committee on Technology – will propose the creation of a new city Office of Technology and Digital Services, the purpose of which would be to make tech expertise more readily available to city agencies through technology officers who could be embedded in different agencies to help problem-solve or build new software or digital services. 

Gothamist After Falling Facade Kills Woman, City Officials Propose Using Drones To Inspect Buildings by Elizabeth Kim

After Falling Facade Kills Woman, City Officials Propose Using Drones To Inspect Buildings

Concerns about the inspection process of the city's building facades heightened after Erica Tishman, a 60-year-old architect, was killed last Tuesday while walking in front of an office building on 7th Avenue. In April, The property owner, Himmel + Meringoff Properties, was cited by the DOB for failing to property maintain its terra cotta facade. Poorly maintained terra cotta facades have a history of causing fatal accidents in New York City. Over the years, the DOB has noted that the weaknesses of the material can be difficult to spot and require an up-close examination. Preservationists have maintained that most property owners fail to do sufficient upkeep of terra cotta.

Adams and Brannan, who held a press conference on Sunday on the steps of City Hall, argued that drones can be a cost-effective solution for property owners and the city. To date, Councilmember Robert Cornegy and Ben Kallos have pledged to sign on as co-sponsors of the bill.

Coinspeaker BlockchainWeekend NYC 2019 Happened and It Was Epic by Press Staff

BlockchainWeekend NYC 2019 Happened and It Was Epic

BlockchainWeekend NYC 2019 kicked off last Thursday, November 7th with an evening opening reception hosted by Gemini, a New York-based cryptocurrency exchange in partnership with Tech:NYC, taking place at their headquarters. Tech insiders, investors and blockchain enthusiasts gathered to celebrate this weekend. You could feel the palpable excitement in the air.

Government Technology New York City Demystifies Social Service Benefits Screening by ZACK QUAINTANCE

New York City Demystifies Social Service Benefits Screening

Building Access NYC in a way to eventually make it accessible to others who are working towards similar goals was a logical addition, according to Hia. Key to this was also continued support from elected officials in New York City.

Council Member Ben Kallos, who represents the Upper East Side, was a major proponent of the project. Kallos is also a software developer, and he has previously worked on projects with similar goals, including, which provides healthy recipes to users who are on a budget. Kallos introduced Local Law 60 in 2018, which spurred the city to consider how tech and data could advance access to benefits there.

Kallos said the API is going to be a way for private-sector innovators to avoid having to understand and navigate bureaucracy. Instead, they will be able to focus on creating a new digital means of using data and applications for other services to screen individuals and ultimately determine if they are eligible for benefits they aren’t receiving.

“Now that New York City has finally done the right thing by making its benefits available through an API, the challenge now comes to the private sector for how we can work together to finally end hunger and poverty in New York City,” said Kallos.

Technically Brooklyn New York City Council adopts civic-tech hack as its own by Tyler Woods

New York City Council adopts civic-tech hack as its own

The story of Councilmatic actually goes back to 2009, when Moore was working on, a site that tracked bills and votes in Congress. New York City Councilman Ben Kallos, then still a private attorney, cold-called Moore and told him he should build something like it for New York City. He teamed up with Code for America’s Mjumbe Poe, who built Councilmatic at a hackathon in Philadelphia in 2011, and brought it up to New York to run it here.