[okfn-discuss] Fwd: G8 Highlights Open Data as Crucial for Governance and Growth

Christian Villum christian.villum at okfn.org
Tue Jun 18 15:47:59 UTC 2013

(apologies for any cross-posting)

Dear all,

We've just released this on the Open Knowledge Foundation blog:

G8 Highlights Open Data as Crucial for Governance and Growth
June 18, 2013 in Featured <http://blog.okfn.org/category/featured/>, Open
Data <http://blog.okfn.org/category/open-data/>,

Today’s release of an Open Data Charter by the
testimony to the growing importance of open data worldwide. The Charter
recognizes the central role open data can play in *improving government and
governance* and in *stimulating growth* through innovation in data-driven
products and services. It endorses the principle of “*open by default*” —
also supported in President Obama’s recent Executive Order on open
and makes clear that open data must be open to all and usable by both
machines and humans (as per the Open Definition <http://opendefinition.org/>

As, Rufus Pollock, Founder of the Open Knowledge Foundation said: “We are
delighted to see such high-level endorsement of the key principles of open
data and transparency which the Open Knowledge Foundation, together with
many others, have been campaigning for over a period of many years. At the
same time, there is still much for the G8, and other countries, to do.”

The early results from Open Data Census reported last
that, even for a small number of core datasets, G8 countries in many cases
have a long way to go in opening up essential data. It is therefore good to
see that the Charter recognizes a list of “high value datasets” which
should be prioritized for release, though it is disappointing that there
are no explicit commitments to release the types of data mentioned (and as
the Census results showed there is much to be done in this area).

Moreover, as the Charter acknowledges with its 2nd principle on quality and
quantity, it’s not just about open data but about quality data — the value
of open data will be much diminished if the data turns out to be missing
crucial information. In this area much of the devil is in the detail and it
will take some detailed follow-up work to make sure this principle turns
into practice.

As a concrete example of the quality point, in our work with open data on
government finances in the OpenSpending project
<http://openspending.org/> we’ve
often been hampered by the lack of crucial identifiers (for example, for
companies or departments), or by data that does not have the granularity to
enable it to be used to answer key questions (such as how much was spent on
project X), or by simple inaccuracy and unreliability.

Martin Tisne of the Omidyar Network said: “We need to benchmark what
excellence means in open data and set a standard so that government
reformers are empowered and civil society can engage and monitor. The Open
Data Charter does this and offers its principles for consideration to other
countries and initiatives. Open data is the most popular commitment out of
hundreds put forward by close to 60 countries part of the Open Government
Partnership. The Charter will be a great tool for these countries to
develop ambitious and meaningful open data initiatives.”

Finally, Governments will have to think hard about how to turn transparency
into accountability. This may involve both developing skills and
innovations, as mentioned in the Charter, but also thought about the kinds
of incentives, and changes in governance, that will make transparency
Open Data Charter

We will be updating this with key extracts from the charter as we analyze
Lough Erne Declaration

The main Lough Erne
to 5 of the 10 points to transparency and open data issues:

… Governments have a special responsibility to make proper rules and
promote good governance. Fair taxes, *increased transparency* and open
trade are vital drivers of this. We will make a real difference by doing
the following:


2. Countries should change rules that let companies shift their profits
across borders to avoid taxes, and multinationals should report to *tax
authorities what tax they pay where*.

3. Companies should know who really owns them and tax collectors and law
enforcers should be able to obtain this information easily.


5. Extractive companies should report payments to all governments – and
governments should *publish income from such companies*.


7. *Land transactions should be transparent*, respecting the property
rights of local communities.


10. *Governments should publish information on laws, budgets, spending,
national statistics, elections and government contracts in a way that is
easy to read and re-use, so that citizens can hold them to account.* [emphasis

Link to post:


Christian Villum

Community Manager, Open Government Data + Local Groups Network
skype: christianvillum  |  @villum <http://www.twitter.com/villum>
The Open Knowledge Foundation <http://okfn.org/>
*Empowering through Open Knowledge
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