[okfn-coord] Chris Corbin on OKF Advisory Board?

Jonathan Gray jonathan.gray at okfn.org
Tue Jan 6 13:20:47 UTC 2009

Hi all,

After another very helpful and informative email from Chris Corbin -
who I gather has been very supportive of the OKF from its early days -
I wonder whether it would be appropriate to invite him onto our
advisory board. His advice on all things PSI related would be
invaluable - and I imagine he could be a relatively active member of
the AB.

What are people's thoughts on this?


---------- Forwarded message ----------

Dear Jonathan

Wishing you all the best for 2009.  Thanks for your email.

Re speakers I think you should involve the OECD and Graham Vickery is the
person to invite based in Paris.  The OECD PSI Policy principles are similar
to the EU but perhaps more definitive re the pricing policy although they
have also had to allow for those countries that see full cost recovery as
the way forward.

<Graham.VICKERY at oecd.org>

The idea of bringing in the democracy line is a good one as there are people
who do not understand that governments have a duty to ensure democracy works
and that this is not based on ability to pay.  The UK is an appalling
example with regards to political boundaries for example as the cost
recovery process stifles the democratic processes based around society
analysing the information itself.  When governments try to provide the
democratic route (which by the way in many countries this is not seen as
engaging with society but rather as a way of trying to be more open to
scrutiny by being transparent in order to try and contain corruption and
reduce excessive bureaucracy which of course PSI re-use also suffers from
(that is the public servant or public body that takes their own line that is
not in accordance with the policy set by government.)) in an open way the
privates sector sometimes fights it.  Two examples of this here - first in
the UK the OSGB often goes beyond their remit and interprets government
policy in  a way that suits them  The recent Google affair was an example
where the TNA/OPSI made it very clear to OSGB that as far as they were
concerned there was not a problem with local government bodies using Google
Maps etc.  The second example is the case of Amsterdam City Council and
Landmark that went to court - analysis would seem to indicate that the
Council person was on a crusade of their own that was not inline with other
local government bodies nor Netherlands PSI policy and strategy.  Put it
another way the City of Amsterdam saw itself as big and played the dominant
card behaviour.  The other issue the private sector has is that when
governments try to provide data and information for free they undermine
business that develop value added products that were based on the previous
restrictive access policies (pricing is included in that) and again there is
at least one court case in the Netherlands where a company is suing the
government as it is moving to cost of delivery only for PSI re-use.  In both
cases no public official will say anything in public - so that is why we
need open scrutiny (also to cover for parliaments where their role as
scrutinisers' is poor).  The Canada policy developed on Geographic
Information some years ago recognised that if one changes policy away from
cost recovery and back to cost of distribution then one has to provide a
buffer period for the public bodies and the private sector to adapt.

If plans here should change for March then I will let you know.


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