AI and the tyranny of the data commons | Opinions | Al Jazeera

“These ideas about the positive power of the commons, which became popular around the same time the internet was coming of age, greatly influenced the idealism behind the sharing economy. We were led to believe that there was no tragedy in this commons, that it was ok to give our data to corporations because data was a non-rival good. We were encouraged to spend as much of our lives as possible in this digital land of plenty, where all benefitted equally.


Unfortunately, this idea, despite its aspirational beauty, has not served us well. This is because while corporations have been publicly persuading us to believe in the data commons and encouraging us to contribute to it, behind closed doors they have been doing everything in their power to privatise and monetise it. That’s where the tyranny comes in….”

EPA Posts Pesticide Incident Data Publicly | US EPA

“Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) took a major step to increase transparency by posting 10 years of pesticide incident data on its website. Sharing this information advances EPA’s commitment to environmental justice and aligns with EPA’s Equity Action Plan by expanding the availability of data and capacity so the public and community organizations can better understand pesticide exposures, including exposures to vulnerable populations.

This action also advances the President’s transparency goal of ensuring that the public, including members of communities with environmental justice concerns, has adequate access to information on federal activities related to human health or the environment, as charged in Executive Order 14096, Revitalizing Our Nation’s Commitment to Environmental Justice for All.

The data sets, which pull information from EPA’s Incident Data System (IDS), allow users to access raw data on pesticide exposure incidents such as the incident date, the reason for the report (e.g., adverse effect, product defect), and the severity of the incident. It may also provide information on the location of the incident, the pesticide product, and a description of the incident(s). EPA has not verified the raw data for accuracy or completeness, so users should be aware of this limitation before drawing any conclusions from the data….”

Improving Access, Reducing Barriers Top Priorities for New Archivist | National Archives

“Dr. Colleen Shogan began her tenure as the 11th Archivist of the United States last month, launching what she intends to be a tenure focused on improving access to and expanding the reach of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA)….

One word I really keep in my head is access, and I mean access in all the ways that we’ve talked about in this interview: access for people who are who are curious, who want to learn more, access for people who need the records for a particular reason, access for people that maybe find interacting with a government agency or government institution intimidating….”

Open Data Matters: Generating Major Benefits in Mexico – Open Data Watch

” Another example of taking advantage of open data is what is happening in Mexico as part of the implementation of Open Infrastructure[1]. An initiative promoted by INAI[2], México Evalúa, INFO-NL, OCP and CoST that promotes (1) the publication of information in open and accessible formats about public works projects and their contracts, (2) citizen participation and monitoring of the public budget and, (3) the use of open data to improve the quality and price of goods and services contracted by the State. It is important to note that, implicitly, this openness effort based on the empowerment of communities also encourages the participation of women in public affairs.

In 2022, this project began with the participation of public institutions from nine states of Mexico. Among them is the Vista Hermosa Municipality in Michoacán, with a population of around 20,000 people (50.62% are women[3]). In this town, the municipal government decided to publish data and documents about the project called “Colector Poniente”, an underground conduit in which the town’s sewers discharge their drainage. In the process, the municipal government disseminated information related to the work program and the assigned budget, which motivated the participation and involvement of the beneficiaries to supervise and follow up until ensuring that the project was completed on time and in accordance with the quality that had been contracted….”

Toward a 21st Century National Data Infrastructure: Enhancing Survey Programs by Using Multiple Data Sources |The National Academies Press

“Much of the statistical information currently produced by federal statistical agencies – information about economic, social, and physical well-being that is essential for the functioning of modern society – comes from sample surveys. In recent years, there has been a proliferation of data from other sources, including data collected by government agencies while administering programs, satellite and sensor data, private-sector data such as electronic health records and credit card transaction data, and massive amounts of data available on the internet. How can these data sources be used to enhance the information currently collected on surveys, and to provide new frontiers for producing information and statistics to benefit American society?

Toward a 21st Century National Data Infrastructure: Enhancing Survey Programs by Using Multiple Data Sources, the second report in a series funded by the National Science Foundation, discusses how use of multiple data sources can improve the quality of national and subnational statistics while promoting data equity. This report explores implications of combining survey data with other data sources through examples relating to the areas of income, health, crime, and agriculture….”

David Eaves: ‘The open data battle now is to demonstrate value, and that’s hard to do’ – Open Knowledge Foundation blog

“Starting January 2023, we are meeting 100+ people to discuss the future of open knowledge, shaped by a diverse set of visions from artists, activists, academics, archivists, thinkers, policymakers, data scientists, educators and community leaders from all over the world. 

The Open Knowledge Foundation’s team wants to identify and debate issues sensitive to our movement and use this effort to constantly shape our actions and business strategies to deliver in the best possible way what the community expects from us and from our Network, a pioneering organization that has been defining the standards of the open movement for two decades.

Another objective is to include the perspectives of people from diverse backgrounds, especially those from marginalised communities, from dissident identities, and whose geographic location is outside the world’s major financial powers.

How openness can speed up and strengthen the fights against the complex challenges of our times? This is the key question behind conversations like the one you can read below….”

Open Buildings

“Building footprints are useful for a range of important applications, from population estimation, urban planning and humanitarian response, to environmental and climate science. This large-scale open dataset contains the outlines of buildings derived from high-resolution satellite imagery in order to support these types of uses. The project is based in Ghana, with an initial focus on the continent of Africa and new updates on South Asia and South-East Asia….”

White House Releases Fifth Open Government National Action Plan to Advance a More Inclusive, Responsive, and Accountable Government | OSTP | The White House

“Today, the Biden-Harris Administration released the U.S. Government’s Fifth Open Government National Action Plan to advance a more inclusive, responsive, and accountable government. The plan includes commitments to increase the public’s access to data to better advance equity, engage the public in the regulatory process, make government records more accessible to the public, and improve the delivery of government services and benefits. The publication of this plan builds on months of engagement with the public, including six public engagement sessions with hundreds of participants, over 700 public comments, and consultations with a range of civil society organizations.”

Archiving official documents as an act of radical journalism – Columbia Journalism Review

“Democracy’s Library, a new project of the Internet Archive that launched last month, has begun collecting the world’s government publications into a single, permanent, searchable online repository, so that everyone—journalists, authors, academics, and interested citizens—will always be able to find, read, and use them. It’s a very fundamental form of journalism….

The importance of distributing true copies of government records was formally recognized by the US Congress in 1813 with a resolution establishing what later became the Federal Depository Library Program, now a network of more than eleven hundred libraries maintaining collections of government records, including catalogues of government assistance, census information, economic indicators, the US Code and Government Manual, the Social Security Handbook, bibliographies, the daily Federal Register, and Ben’s Guide to US Government for Kids (“Let’s Go on a Learning Adventure!”).


But in recent years, enormous collections of these documents came to be gathered and sold or licensed to libraries through commercial databases. At the same time, digital repositories maintained by governments have aged and deteriorated. Standards are lacking, or absent altogether….”

Response to the proposed themes for a 5th U.S. National Action Plan on Open Government – Governing Digital

“Last week, the U.S. government posted a summary of the feedback they have heard on making government more inclusive and responsive and invited the American public to read and share these summaries, and let the White House know what we thought of them by December 9, 2022 by emailing The following is the response we sent today….

A new Open Government Directive issued by President Biden that explicitly requires all federal employees to embrace the spirit and principles of open government, from the administration of the Freedom of Information Act to the proactive disclosure of public information to the public in the open, accessible formats required by the Open Government Act to the responsive, collaborative approach to civic engagement and public information that Americans should expect from our public officials and civil servants. Make in press freedom and Internet freedom the planks of a bridge to the next century of access to information. Enshrine public access to public information as a defining priority of this administration, building on the foundations laid by generations past to erect an enduring architecture of open governance for our democracy….”

About this Collection  |  Copyright Historical Record Books Collection, 1870-1977 (Preview)  |  Digital Collections  |  Library of Congress

“The U.S. Copyright Office is governed by Title 17 of the United States Code, which requires the Register of Copyrights to maintain and provide public access to copyright records. This collection is a preview of a digitized version of the U.S. Copyright Office’s historical record books. The collection contains images of copyright applications and other records bound in books dating from 1870 to 1977. The collection offers a historically-important snapshot of the culture of the United States, primarily relating to copyrightable expression, authorship, and copyright ownership.

This collection is a digital preview of the physical collection and should not be relied on for legal matters.  To access the official public records in the copyright historical record books, visit the Copyright Office Public Records Reading Room. In the future, as part of its overall modernization efforts, the Copyright Office plans to incorporate digitized, searchable versions of the official historical record books into the Office’s Copyright Public Record System (CPRS), which is currently in a public pilot.

The collection will be made available online starting with the most recent volumes from 1977, proceeding through the Copyright Office’s internal administrative classification system in reverse chronological order. Images of record books will be added to this collection as they are digitized….”

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….”