CIVIC ENGAGEMENT MADE EASY
Making sure your local government leaders hear your voice
Residents & Inclusivity
We believe residents are at the heart of every community and that everyone should have the opportunity to have their voice heard. That's why our technology helps voices like yours be heard, and facilitates inclusivity by enabling local governments to take into account voices from all corners of their communities when making decisions.
Your privacy is our top concern. That's why our platform only includes, open, publicly available, data - and city or county-owned data - like 311/211. All of our data is automatically anonymized and we strictly comply with the policies of all of the channels that we work with - like Facebook and Twitter. We also comply with GDPR privacy rules.
The Big Picture
We built Zencity to show local government leaders the "big picture" of their community so that they can better respond to their residents' real needs and priorities. Because we show the big picture, all of our data is always anonymous and can never be used to pinpoint to an individual.
With our platform, governments have a measurable, data-driven way to listen to a wide variety of voices in their community and incorporate all of that feedback into their actions including strategic planning, budgeting, policy-making, improving services, and more. We prohibit our technology from being used for political purposes.
What does Zencity do?
Zencity is the platform for community trust, purpose-built for government. By putting comprehensive and proactive community input tools, sophisticated analytics, and expert support at their fingertips, we empower government and public safety leaders with the data to make more confident, transparent, and effective decisions that earn residents’ trust. More than 350 government agencies use Zencity every day, from Los Angeles, Chicago, and Harris County, TX, to Greensboro, NC, Ft. Lauderdale, and DeLand, FL. With Zencity, leaders can confidently plan budgets and strategies, complete capital projects, optimize community services, respond to crises, and improve perceptions of trust and safety among their residents.
What are Zencity’s core principles?
- Inclusivity: Residents are at the heart of every community, and we believe that everyone should have the opportunity to have their voice heard. Our technology helps more voices be heard and facilitates inclusivity by enabling local governments to consider voices from all corners of their communities when making decisions.
- Privacy: Privacy is our top concern, and our products are designed with privacy in mind. That’s why we don’t use any data that residents have not made publicly available or voluntarily given to the relevant city/county or us. The majority of the data we handle is automatically anonymized in consideration of privacy concerns. We have made efforts to ensure that all of our activities strictly comply with the policies of the platforms we work with – like Facebook and Twitter – and that our activities comply with applicable privacy laws.
- Aggregate Analysis: We built Zencity to show local government leaders the “big picture” of their community so that they can better respond to their residents’ real needs and priorities. Therefore, our analysis of the data is always done on an aggregate basis and is not designed to identify or pinpoint any individual. No identifiers are included in our analytical deliverables or dashboards, ever.
- Data-Driven: With our platform, governments have a measurable, data-driven way to listen to a wide variety of voices in their communities and incorporate all of that feedback into their actions, including strategic planning, budgeting, policy-making, improving services, and more. Our technology is not intended to be used for political purposes or electioneering.
See our Code of Conduct for more information about the standards of use we expect for the use of our platform.
How do you collect data?
We collect data from three main sources:
- Data provided to us by the local government, such as 311, 211, city hotline service requests, or city-managed webpages or social media pages, is the most natural place for a resident to report a classic complaint or share feedback.
- Data that is open and available to the public, such as through social media channels and web sources, like public Facebook groups, Twitter hashtags, and keywords.
- Surveys that we or the local government send to residents. These surveys do not require residents to provide data that would allow us to identify them, though some may choose to add email addresses.
How is the data analyzed?
We are only interested in understanding the overall sentiment of the residents in the city and do not use any data on an individualized basis. Our technology then recognizes the main topics (for example, garbage collection, parks and rec, etc.) and sentiment in the discussion – prioritizing by volume of conversations. Certain data may still have personal identifiers associated with it. They may be traceable to the original post (which, as noted, was made on public and open channels), but all analysis is done on aggregated data, excluding any identifiers.
How do you protect resident privacy?
We take protecting the privacy and ensuring resident anonymity seriously.
- When we handle data that the city provides (e.g., 311 data), we immediately remove all identifiers relating to the person who submitted the request or message.
- When we handle data collected through social media channels, we do not use the name or social media handle of the individual posting the message as part of our analysis.
- All survey responses are completely confidential, and we do not request or collect any data that could identify a specific respondent as part of the survey. Some respondents may provide their email addresses to participate in similar surveys in the future, in which case we would retain that data. However, it is never used to identify the individual and is not linked to the survey responses as part of the analysis. We also collect anonymous metadata, which we use to improve the quality of our advertisements used to publicize the surveys. We do not share individual-level responses to our surveys with our customers. We only share aggregated numbers, summaries, or responses to open-ended questions, which are not linked to identifiers.
Note that we cannot recognize or remove data of individuals who may be mentioned in a message. For example, if a resident submits a noise complaint about a neighbor and the neighbor’s name appears in the message, we cannot recognize that this constitutes personal data, and the neighbor’s name would be retained. However, our analysis is done on an aggregated basis, and although we may have the neighbor’s name, this is solely incidental and not analyzed as part of our service.
Where is the data stored?
Our data is stored in secure, encrypted databases on AWS/Azure servers, using industry best practices. Zencity Engage data is stored in the UK, while all other data (Organic, Surveys) is stored in the US. It is up to our clients (local governments) to decide who within their organization can see what data. We never share or use the data we collect or receive on behalf of one of our clients with any other client.
How do you work with social media platforms?
When we collect data through social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, we only work through the official APIs and in accordance with the terms of those platforms. This means that we only look at public and open data, which we can see with the access points given by the social media channels themselves. We have also made considerable efforts to comply with applicable privacy laws, including GDPR and CCPA, including the following:
We maintain extensive policies within our organization regarding how personal data should be handled, including policies about data security, data retention, responses to data security incidents, and procedures regarding handling requests from data subjects.
We have implemented technical security measures to ensure the security of the data, including encryption of data at rest and in transit and periodic penetration testing.
We have reviewed third-party vendors who handle access on our behalf and have signed data processing agreements with them. Where necessary, we have also entered into the Standard Contractual Clauses to allow for cross-border transfers of data.
To learn about Zencity Survey’s methodology, see our Surveys FAQs page.
Our team is here to help!