Open data giving public new eyes on government 2013-06-23


"Open data represents a revolution in the way citizens interact with their governments, experts say, but lasting support from public entities will be needed to ensure the information meets its full potential. The government of Canada launched its open data portal on Tuesday and added its name to a growing list of public bodies that make their data freely accessible online. Proponents of open data say with proper oversight, online catalogues have the potential to increase government transparency and accountability, while reshaping the relationship between citizens and their governments. When developers can create applications to process the information, citizens can skip bureaucracy and government paper work to get at the heart of how their tax dollars work. With a common licence to share and process the information, the data borders between different levels of government and their departments stand to vanish - but it will require a full and continued official endorsement. 'It's making society better,' says Lisa Green, director of the California-based Common Crawl Foundation. Easy access to government information lowers barriers to empowerment for its citizens, says Green, a believer in open data's ability to reshape society at all levels ...  Launching a portal or website to provide access to government catalogues is just a first step: experts say the data must remain up-to-date and plentiful.

The Canadian government's advisory panel on open government is chaired by treasury board president and member of Parliament Tony Clement.  Clement launched Canada's open data portal on Tuesday as Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced support for an international open data 'charter of principles' at the G-8 leaders summit in Northern Ireland.  The government's continued support of the open data initiative will be wholly necessary if it is to meet its goal of increasing transparency and accountability at the federal level. In an interview with the Daily News, Clement promised that support would be there.  'One of the standards we're setting is that more open data is desirable and necessary,' he said. That said, there are limits, said Clement. Information will be withheld if there are concerns about privacy rights, national security or other 'legitimate' reasons to ward off prying eyes - a small amount of the total, he said.  'Unless there's a really good reason not to supply the data online, we will supply the data online,' he said. 'That's the culture change we're doing now.'  Canada has posted some 273,000 data sets online and has plans to add thousands more.

The Canadian open data portal can be accessed through http: //"


From feeds:

Open Access Tracking Project (OATP) »

Tags: oa.psi oa.policies oa.comment oa.canada oa.g8_open_data_charter oa.government oa.repositories

Date tagged:

06/23/2013, 08:36

Date published:

06/23/2013, 04:36