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>

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.

New York Post NYC’s free public Wi-Fi kiosks aren’t making much money by Rich Calder

NYC’s free public Wi-Fi kiosks aren’t making much money

City Councilman Ben Kallos (D – Manhattan), a software developer who previously raised concerns about some of the existing kiosks not working properly, was flabbergasted after learning about the amended contract.

“If [CityBridge] is not going to have to make millions of dollars of its payments for a decade, then they should build all the kiosks now,” he said. “They shouldn’t be getting an extra two years.”

New York Observer New York City Launches First-Ever Cybersecurity Initiative to Fight Hackers by Medina Toure

New York City Launches First-Ever Cybersecurity Initiative to Fight Hackers

Manhattan Councilman Ben Kallos, who is also a computer programmer, said the new initiative is “incredibly welcome” in his books. He maintained the necessity of protecting residents, businesses and government’s privacy as well as ensuring their safety.

Ed Scoop NYC Broadband Initiative Looks to Eliminate the Homework Gap by Kate Roddy

NYC Broadband Initiative Looks to Eliminate the Homework Gap

“Access to reliable, high-speed internet is no longer a luxury. In 2017, it is a necessity,” said Ben Kallos, member of the New York City Council. “Whether you are a small business competing for customers or a high school student doing homework, access to broadband could make the difference between landing a big contract or not, or getting an A on a research paper. I applaud this administration's efforts as New York City works toward universal broadband access."


Gotham Gazette City Releases Latest Progress on Open Data Plan by Ben Brachfeld

City Releases Latest Progress on Open Data Plan

The new datasets released in the update include NYPD complaint data on felonies, misdemeanors and violent crimes reported between 2006 and 2016; details of City Council participatory budgeting projects from 2012 onwards; data on the programs, benefits and resources for 40 health and human services available to New Yorkers; and a Department of City Planning database of more than 35,000 records on public and private facilities from 50 sources. Other new aspects of the program include legal mandates for compliance with FOIL requests and on timing of responses to data requests.

Though FOIL requests involving data are being streamlined, City Council Member Ben Kallos, a longtime advocate of open data, thinks that it can be improved further by passing his “Open FOIL” bill, which would create “one searchable database of Freedom of Information Law requests sent to city agencies.” Kallos also believes that the city could do more outreach about the existence of the open data initiative.

"The City is getting better and better at getting the word out about Open Data,” Kallos told Gotham Gazette. “I for one want to see Open Data classes taught at our city libraries so anyone can learn how to use the data sets, not just techies." Indeed, while many data sets are available, they aren’t always easy to digest or utilize to find patterns or other takeaways.

Charter Bridging the Digital Divide in New York City and Beyond by Charter Communications

Bridging the Digital Divide in New York City and Beyond

Today, we joined New York City Councilmember Ben Kallos at the Personal Democracy Forum 2017 to discuss efforts to enhance broadband access and adoption, including Charter’s low-cost broadband offering that’s available to eligible New Yorkers and the Spectrum learning labs located in a growing number of communities across the City.

Charter’s Spectrum Internet Assist, is an industry leading, truly high-speed, low-cost broadband service for eligible low-income families and seniors. It empowers low-income families and seniors to access information about their communities, take classes and do homework, apply for jobs and access healthcare.

beat10ztalk Why We Should All Praise City Council Member Ben Kallos by Editorial

Why We Should All Praise City Council Member Ben Kallos

Ben Kallos, NYC Council Member, introduced a bill that would require city agencies to begin making their data available via user interface / API. This would be a major step towards increasing city efficiency, by enabling the private sector to build solutions that meet their own local needs.

How we currently interact with various government agencies — even for simple tasks like renewing a license, reporting a power outage, or casting a vote — is incomprehensibly cumbersome and time consuming. There’s little reason why these processes have not already been app-enabled and mostly automated, except that our city agencies are fractured and don’t have the bandwidth to pull themselves off legacy systems into the modern world.

Fortune Tech A Proposed Law Aims to Make City Services as Easy as Ordering Takeout by Barb Darrow

A Proposed Law Aims to Make City Services as Easy as Ordering Takeout

If enacted, the bill would mean people "won't have to deal with the bureaucracy and red tape of government," argued Kallos, a Democratic councilman who represents Midtown East, the Upper East Side, East Harlem, and Roosevelt Island. "Government gets a lot wrong, and a lot of that comes from having to shove pieces of paper around," he said, explaining that automating all that paper pushing could eliminate or lessen the chances of error.

Kallos said it's all about making government services and public data more easily accessible to constituents. One example already in place: New York City's 311 phone line for reporting non-emergency situations. Under this new law, all new services would include an API that would let people submit requests directly to the city, without having to spend a ton of time on hold and without having to enter their information over and over again, as can often be the case now.