Tag Archive | Transparency

Open Government and the National Plan | The White House

….the United States will produce a plan that builds on existing initiatives and practices. The plan will be released when the Open Government Partnership is formally launched on the margins of the U.N. General Assembly in New York City in September.

As part of the Open Government Initiative, we have benefited from knowledgeable and constructive input from external stakeholders with strong commitments to the principles of open government. The list is long and continues to grow.

We have initiated consultations about the Open Government Plan, beginning with a number of meetings with key external stakeholders, and our consultation is now moving to a new phase in which we seek ideas through this platform, in response to specific questions that we raise through a series of blog posts. We will have a final meeting with stakeholders as we finalize our plan.

Today, we are asking for your thoughts on ideas related to two of the key challenges – improving public services and increasing public integrity:

  • How can regulations.gov, one of the primary mechanisms for government transparency and public participation, be made more useful to the public rulemaking process? OMB is beginning the process of reviewing and potentially updating its Federal Web Policy.
  • What policy updates should be included in this revision to make Federal websites more user-friendly and pertinent to the needs of the public? How can we build on the success of Data.Gov and encourage the use of democratized data to build new consumer-oriented products and services?

Please think about these questions and send your thoughts to opengov@ostp.gov. We will post a summary of your submissions online in the future. Your ideas will be carefully considered as we produce our National Plan and continue to engage with you over the next month in future posts on this blog. Aneesh Chopra is the U.S. Chief Technology Officer and Cass Sunstein is the Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs

For full text of the article, visit Open Government and the National Plan | The White House.

New Court Ruling: USDA’s GIS Data Need Not Be Disclosed

USDA logo

Image via Wikipedia

Recent court ruling finds that USDA GIS data need not be disclosed via a FOIA request because of the 2008 Farm Bill provision. The court’s opinion will have implications specifically for Nebraska’s 23 natural resources districts, primarily for water management purposes.

Central Platte Natural Resources District (Appellant) v. United States Department of Agriculture; Farm Service Agency (Appellees) Central Platte Natural Resources District (Central Platte) sought disclosure of geospatial data from the United States Department of Agriculture and the Farm Service Agency (collectively the USDA) under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. § 552, and the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), 5 U.S.C. §§ 701 et seq. The district court dismissed Central Platte’s APA claim on the ground that it already had an adequate remedy and granted summary judgment on its FOIA claim on the ground that the USDA was not required to disclose the requested geospatial data. … For the full Judicial View article, click here.

For text of the court’s opinion, visit: United States Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit, Case No. 10-3205. Thank you to the GSDI listserv for the heads up!

India’s Government unveils new Remote Sensing Data Policy

From the GSDI announcements:

PTI, Jul 5, 2011

The government has unveiled a new remote sensing data policy which allows all data of resolutions up to 1 meter to be distributed on a non-discriminatory basis and on “as requested basis”. The Remote Sensing Data Policy 2011 (RSDP 2011) replaces a 2001 policy which allowed all data of resolutions up to 5.8 metres to be distributed on non-discriminatory and “as requested” basis. The RSDP 2011, apart from opening up the remote sensing sector, will remove certain restrictions to facilitate more users to access high resolution data for developmental activities. …

For full text of the article, visit Government unveils new Remote Sensing Data Policy – India – DNA.

Tech experts exit White House – POLITICO.com

By Kim Hart and Michelle Quinn, Politico Pro, 7/8/11

When President Barack Obama took office, he brought with him a pack of technology advocates with impressive résumés and ambitious visions. They wanted to improve the government through the use of Internet tools and iPhone apps and help shape communications policy to expand broadband. But the core group of techies that launched big initiatives has left the White House over the past six months, raising questions about what will become of the administration’s technology-focused goals…The administration says its commitment to technology remains strong. …

For full text of the article, visit Tech experts exit White House – Kim Hart and Michelle Quinn – POLITICO.com.

White House: An Invitation to Our Latest Open Innovation Ecosystem: Energy.Data.Gov

Posted by Aneesh Chopra, Office of Science and Technology Policy, June 30, 2011

Today we launched Energy.Data.Gov, the latest installment of our growing family of Data.gov communities to deepen our engagement with stakeholders interested in the analytics to measure our Nation’s energy performance. As with our previous open government communities, in health and law, this platform aggregates tools, high-value datasets, and applications to shed light on energy use. It includes 216 free datasets and tools have been gathered from agencies across the Federal government with the goal of empowering all Americans to understand energy issues, including energy consumption within the Federal government.

For full text of the article, visit An Invitation to Our Latest Open Innovation Ecosystem: Energy.Data.Gov | The White House.

NYT: World Bank Is Opening Its Treasure Chest of Data

by Stephanie Strom, Global Business Section, New York Times, June 2, 2011

…the World Bank is opening its vast vault of information. …For more than a year, the bank has been releasing its prized data sets, currently giving public access to more than 7,000 that were previously available only to some 140,000 subscribers — mostly governments and researchers, who pay to gain access to it. Those data sets contain all sorts of information about the developing world, whether workaday economic statistics — gross domestic product, consumer price inflation and the like — or arcana like how many women are breast-feeding their children in rural Peru. … For whatever its accuracy or biases, this data essentially defines the economic reality of billions of people and is used in making policies and decisions that have an enormous impact on their lives. …

For full text of the article, visit: World Bank Is Opening Its Treasure Chest of Data – NYTimes.com.

Practical guidelines for open data licensing have been published in the United Kingdom

Thanks to Kevin Pomfret for passing along the following link:

by Katleen Janssen, EPSI Platform, 27 May 2011

Naomi Korn and Charles Oppenheim have prepared a Practical Guide for Licensing Open Data, targeting organisations that want to use open data and want to understand under which terms they can use data licensed by third parties. The Guide relies on work done by the Strategic Content Alliance and JISC projects related to digital content, including Web2Rights. The Guide provides short information on some of the most important legal domains that need to be taken into account when licensing open data (intellectual property rights, contract law, data protection, freedom of information, and breach of confidence). It explains the commonly known open licence models…

For full text of the article, click Licensing Open Data: A Practical Guide at EPSI Platform.

Nudging the world toward smarter public (data) policy: An interview with Richard Thaler

Nudging the world toward smarter public policy: An interview with Richard Thaler

Public and private data alike will become more transparent, says behavioral scientist Richard Thaler. That’s an opportunity for some companies and a threat for others.

McKinsey Quarterly, JUNE 2011

… Since last year, the University of Chicago professor has been advising the “Nudge Unit,” established by the government of the United Kingdom to create policies that will enhance the public welfare by helping citizens make better choices. The group gets its name from Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness (Yale University Press, April 2008), the book Thaler coauthored with Harvard Law School professor Cass Sunstein, which applies the ideas of behavioral economics to public policy. … In this interview with University of Sydney professor Dan Lovallo and McKinsey’s Allen Webb, Thaler describes some of the Nudge Unit’s early efforts to boost both organ donation rates and the volume of data that governments and businesses share with individuals. The more transparent data environment envisioned by Thaler holds profound implications for business leaders. “Strategies that are based on obscuring the consumer’s choice,” argues Thaler, will not be “good long-term strategies.” …

For full text of the interview, visit Smarter public policy: An interview with Richard Thaler – McKinsey Quarterly – Public Sector – Government Regulation.

Why Google Earth Pixelates Israel

By William Fenton, PC World, June 14, 2011

If Google Earth maps the trees, the oceans, and the annals of history, why is a country, Israel, so hard to make out? An article from Mother Jones explores how U.S. policy makers have pixelated Google Earth and why that might change in 2013.

Israel’s low-resolution e-presence can be traced back to the 1997 National Defense Authorization Act. Tucked inside the 2,870-page bill is a two-bullet point section titled “SEC. 1064. PROHIBITION ON COLLECTION AND RELEASE OF DETAILED SATELLITE IMAGERY RELATING TO ISRAEL” (page 2653). Below, the full-text:

For full text of the article, via Why Google Earth Pixelates Israel | News & Opinion | PCMag.com.

Digital Mappers Plot the Future of Maptivism

by Nancy Scola, Tech President, June 3, 2011 – 4:35pm

Every time something happens in the world these days, somebody makes a map about it.We saw it with last January’s devastating earthquake in Haiti, the rollout of the U.S.’s long-awaited National Broadband Map in February, the personalized maps that accompanied April’s iPhone tracking story. We see it every election. And with the increasing availability of free and open-source or simply cheap mapping tools, and the growing footprint of the open data movement, democratized mapping is likely only getting started. …

via Digital Mappers Plot the Future of Maptivism | techPresident.

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