Panel discussion: Building geospatial data capacity at the municipal level Tickets, Wed, 18 May 2022 at 12:00 PM | Eventbrite

“Municipalities are the level of government closest to residents. Geospatial data is critical in planning the infrastructure and delivering the services that residents interact with daily. More broadly, sharing geospatial capacity can enable municipalities to collectively address challenges extending beyond any community’s borders.

Yet, the ability to fully leverage geospatial data varies significantly between communities. Collaboration – that is, sharing data assets, infrastructure, and knowledge – can help municipalities to gain capacity they would not otherwise be able to access in order to improve internal data practices; share collective intelligence and make mutual decisions on issues of regional importance; unlock geospatial information for community-based economic, social, and environmental initiatives, and; present a united ask for resources from higher levels of government.

Join Open North for a virtual panel discussion where we will address questions raised in our recent report such as:

What issues can most benefit from greater collaboration and sharing of geospatial resources between municipalities?
What are the barriers to forming and sustaining collaborations?
What can we learn from successful existing collaborations?
How can provincial governments, civil society, and the private sector better support collaborations? …”

Unlocking linked real-world data presents opportunities to improve public health | Impact of Social Sciences

“The COVID-19 pandemic has surfaced the potential and risks of linked real word datasets to accelerate and produce new improvements in public health. In this post, Matthew Franklin, Dan Howdon, Suzanne Mason, Tony Stone, Monica Jones, outline the opportunities and challenges of using real world data as part of the ‘Unlocking data to inform public health policy and practice’ project. Highlighting the ethical and practical challenges of accessing this data, they argue investing in and developing trust across those involved in the formation of real world data is critical to its effective use….”

Merrick Garland Orders More Open Access to Government Documents – WSJ

“Attorney General Merrick Garland directed federal agencies to “apply a presumption of openness” when fulfilling Freedom of Information Act requests, after lawmakers pressed him to increase transparency as the denial rate for such inquiries has risen in recent years.

Information that might be considered exempted from release shouldn’t be withheld unless an agency can identify a “foreseeable harm or legal bar to disclosure,” Mr. Garland said in a memo Tuesday….”

Merrick Garland Orders More Open Access to Government Documents – WSJ

“Attorney General Merrick Garland directed federal agencies to “apply a presumption of openness” when fulfilling Freedom of Information Act requests, after lawmakers pressed him to increase transparency as the denial rate for such inquiries has risen in recent years.

Information that might be considered exempted from release shouldn’t be withheld unless an agency can identify a “foreseeable harm or legal bar to disclosure,” Mr. Garland said in a memo Tuesday….”

New Project Will Unlock Access to Government Publications on Microfiche – Internet Archive Blogs

“Government documents from microfiche are coming to archive.org based on the combined efforts of the Internet Archive, Stanford University Libraries, and other library partners. The resulting files will be available for free public access to enable new analysis and access techniques. 

Microfiche cards, which contain miniaturized thumbnails of the publication’s pages, are starting to be digitized and matched to catalog records by the Internet Archive. Once in a digital format and preserved on archive.org, these documents will be searchable and downloadable by anyone with an Internet connection, since U.S. government publications are in the public domain….

The collection includes reports from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), NASA, the Department of Interior, and other government agencies from the 1970s to the present. There are also transcripts of congressional hearings and other Congressional material that contain discussion of potential laws or issues of concern to the public, Jacobs said….

Microfiche is not a format that can be easily read without using a machine in a library building. Many members of the public are not aware of the material available on microfiche so the potential for finding and using them is heightened once these documents are digitized. And as the information is shared with other federal depository libraries, there will be a ripple effect for researchers, academics, students, and the general public in gaining access….”

The FBI Is Hiding an Unpublished Police Use-of-Force Database From FOIA Requesters

“For the past several years, the FBI has been trying to collect information from police departments around the country on their use of force, but it has yet to publish any reports or statistics based on that data because of lackluster participation from law enforcement. Now, a civil rights group says the FBI and Justice Department are stonewalling its attempts to get the underlying reports submitted to the program.

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights has been trying to obtain raw reports from law enforcement agencies submitted to the FBI’s National Use-of-Force Data Collection program. However, the FBI has rejected its Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, and the Justice Department has denied the Leadership Conference’s appeal.”

Plan to Advance Data Innovation

“Executive Order 13994 on Ensuring a Data-Driven Response to COVID-19 and Future HighConsequence Public Health Threats calls for development of an improved public health infrastructure to effectively prevent, detect, and respond to future biological threats. Section 4 of the Executive order tasks the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy to “develop a plan for advancing innovation in public health data and analytics in the United States.” The Office of Science and Technology Policy formed a National Science and Technology Council Fast Track Action Committee to develop this plan to enhance data innovation and to ensure that epidemiological modeling and forecasting can support preparedness for and response to highconsequence biological threats, in particular respiratory pathogens. This plan also encourages the development of new and innovative thinking about data sources and their applications, and identifies mechanisms for data innovation that should be applied to public health data needs outside of epidemiological modeling, such as needs in maternal health, mental health, veterans health, and other areas. The objectives and policy recommendations in this plan were designed to guide the new National Center for Epidemic Forecasting and Outbreak Analytics and support contributors and users of robust data sources across multiple sectors. The plan is structured around a four-element data life cycle framework composed of data inputs and acquisition, data management, data use and analysis, and data outputs, including interpretation and communication….

2.1 Create infrastructure for data storage, management, access, and protection. Utilizing the process developed in 1.4, infrastructure should be developed to support the storage, management, and protection of data from diverse sources. This infrastructure should enable all contributors and users to submit or access data in accordance with transparent access controls, further enabling data sharing and creating a data environment that is as open as possible, which is critical to promoting innovation….”

Karnataka’s open data access: At what cost? | Deccan Herald

“The policy aims to achieve three overarching goals management and interoperability of data across government departments; defining processes and standards for enabling proactive, open access to government data for research, innovation and evidence-based governance; and promoting monetisation of anonymised citizen data. The move comes in the context of the Economic Survey of India, 2019, recommendations to monetise citizen data to facilitate the use of data as a “public good”.

The policy calls for sharing anonymised citizen data which could pose grave privacy threats through the risk of de-anonymisation. The data ownership concept adopted in the policy makes the state government department that processes the data its owner. In practice and policy, the state is considered the fiduciary or custodian of citizen data and should act in their best interests. As advocated by the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019, and the Non-personal Data Governance Framework (NPD), 2020, the ultimate ownership of data lies with the individuals and communities who help produce it. Lastly, the data monetisation aspect of the policy is problematic for its lack of transparency, potential to prop up private data monopolies and lack of clarity on pricing mechanisms….”

Enhancing transparency through open government data: the case of data portals and their features and capabilities | Emerald Insight

Abstract:  Purpose

The purpose of this paper was to draw on evidence from computer-mediated transparency and examine the argument that open government data and national data infrastructures represented by open data portals can help in enhancing transparency by providing various relevant features and capabilities for stakeholders’ interactions.

Design/methodology/approach

The developed methodology consisted of a two-step strategy to investigate research questions. First, a web content analysis was conducted to identify the most common features and capabilities provided by existing national open data portals. The second step involved performing the Delphi process by surveying domain experts to measure the diversity of their opinions on this topic.

Findings

Identified features and capabilities were classified into categories and ranked according to their importance. By formalizing these feature-related transparency mechanisms through which stakeholders work with data sets we provided recommendations on how to incorporate them into designing and developing open data portals.

Social implications

The creation of appropriate open data portals aims to fulfil the principles of open government and enables stakeholders to effectively engage in the policy and decision-making processes.

Originality/value

By analyzing existing national open data portals and validating the feature-related transparency mechanisms, this paper fills this gap in existing literature on designing and developing open data portals for transparency efforts.