Spent the latter half of the week at Open Government Data Camp, created by the UK’s Open Knowledge Foundation (www.okfn.org). Will be digesting for a while all the ways the creativity and expertise there can inform my work, but here are a few things we all need to think about from some of the gifted thinkers there:
In this clip from @kresin on Twitter, David Eaves talks about the manifest need for and right to data from the government on its own activity: It’s yours to use as much as a highway, he says. But as he notes, distrust makes the public discussion about open data more toxic than it needs to be: Governments fear “gotcha journalism,” with users combing the data for embarassing revelations, while users assume that unreleased information is incriminating information (when it’s often inertia, bureaucracy or lack of capacity that keeps data locked away in official structures).

Got the chance to sit just a couple of meters from Tim Berners-Lee, father of the web, who had just come from the UK government announcement on the release of a massive machine-readable store of government expenditure information. Read his comments from that event on the need for data-savvy journalists to make information matter.
And was blown away by the clarity of the Netherlands’ Ton Ziljstra, who speaks about the need for “socially open” data. Information that is not only available, and shareable, but truly usable for social purposes. His short presentation, and more about his much-needed thinking, are here …
The UK’s open government movement would be years behind where it is now without the work of Tom Steinberg of MySociety (who’s seated on the far right with Berners-Lee in the photo above). And many of the innovators and dedicated hackers at the data camp work with the important support of the Open Society Foundation’s Information Program.
Damn, so much to do

1 Comment

  1. Hi Jed,
    I wrote up a blogpost covering my lightning talk at OGD Camp in London. It was a pleasure meeting you! See http://www.zylstra.org/blog/archives/2010/11/socially_open_g.html

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