QuickLinks - e-Government
QuickLinks - e-Government
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Issue no. 413 - 20 February 2011
2011-02-18 EU, Berlin - Open data: apps for everyone?
Opportunities and challenges in the re-use of public sector information. An open meeting in Berlin jointly organised by ePSIplatform, the Open Data Network, Geokomm, Online Consultants International GmbH and PSI Alliance. The rapid rise in ‘apps’ (applications for mobile devices) offer opportunities to disseminate data and services that could be decisive in unlocking PSI reuse. They also present challenges as public and private sector organisations seek to adapt to the rapid pace of change. The meeting aims to provide a forum for decision-makers and their representatives to gain an up-to-date understanding of open data and PSI re-use in Germany, to assess progress in comparison with other EU countries and to focus on the identification of market drivers. The meeting aims to develop key points for an action plan to successfully implement open data policies in Germany that embrace the idea of PSI reuse by design. The event is aimed at: Government and public administration representatives nationally, regionally and locally that produce data; Stakeholders that reuse data: businesses and their representative associations, NGOs and citizens. Meeting Date: Friday 18 February 2011, 9am – 6pm CET Location: GLS Campus, Kastanienallee 82, 10435 Berlin. Participation in the meeting is free of charge but you will need to register for the event.
EU - Conclusions of the European Council (4 February 2011)
21. The Commission is invited to make rapid progress in key areas of the digital economy to ensure the creation of the Digital Single Market by 2015, including the promotion and protection of creativity, the development of e-commerce and the availability of public sector information.
EU - My vision for eGovernment, and how to make it real
eelie Kroes, Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for the Digital Agenda, "Lift-Off towards Open Government" conference, Brussels, 15 December 2010 .
EU - Public sector information - results of public consultation
The Commission has published
(PDF) and the
(Excel) to the on-line public consultation on the PSI Directive, launched on 9 September 2010 and closed on 30 November 2010. The full analysis of the responses will be published in the form of a report in the coming weeks.
Public Community Partnership
Ich war an der Open Data: apps for everyone?’ in Berlin (sehr gut organisiert von der European Public Sector Information platform EPSI) und habe dort das Münchner MOGDy-Projekt vorgestellt. Am Ende nach meinen drei wichtigsten Tips für Verwaltungen gefragt, was Open Government/Open Data Projekte erfolgreich macht, habe ich gesagt:
Haben Sie keine Angst, zu experimentieren.
Fangen Sie lieber jetzt klein an, als große Pläne für später zu machen.
Beziehen Sie die Community ein. Von Anfang an.
The quest for EU documents: An exemplary journey
Understanding EU-level decision-making is complicated. You have to be quite an expert to search and find relevant EU documents, even when they are public.
WikiLeaks has U.S. scrambling to plug holes
by Declan McCullagh. This week's leak - still incomplete - of some 250,000 State Department dispatches follows WikiLeaks' April release of hundreds of thousands of classified military dispatches from Afghanistan and Iraq. These documents add up to a massive store of sensitive U.S. information totaling around 725,000 files and amounting to what Der Spiegel is calling "nothing short of a political meltdown for U.S. foreign policy." And, according to chat logs made public earlier this year, they all came from one source: Bradley Manning, an Army intelligence specialist whose successful efforts to liberate data went completely undetected by authorities. The possibility that a lowly Army private could have access to such a dizzying volume of classified files, and manage to spirit it away under the noses of his superiors has left official Washington scrambling for explanations.
Issue no. 412 - 28 November 2010
UK - Top judge says internet 'could kill jury system'
The jury system may not survive if it is undermined by social networking sites, England's top judge has said. In a
the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Judge, raised major concerns about the use of the internet by jurors. He said: "If the jury system is to survive as the system for a fair trial... the misuse of the internet by jurors must stop." Lord Judge said some jurors had used the internet to research a rape case.
UK - Twitter shows Greater Manchester Police's 3,205 calls
Police in Greater Manchester received 3,205 calls and made 341 arrests during their 24-hour Twitter project. Every incident was detailed in a series of "tweets", with up to 17,000 people following the force's Twitter feed. The calls ranged from a rape in the city to human excrement being left on the door handles of a police car. Chief Constable Peter Fahy said: "We have tried to get a serious message out about the size of officers' workload." Police said the volume of calls they received in 24 hours was "about average" and reflected a typical day.
Issue no. 411 - 3 October 2010
EU - Unleashing the power of public data
by Neelie Kroes. Tell us what you think about the
re-use of public sector information
(PSI). It could be any PSI – maps, meteorological, legal, traffic, financial and economic information. Re-use of public data already generating amazing products – from car navigation systems to weather forecasts and other "apps" for our mobiles – and I'm told the market is worth €27 billion each and every year, in the EU alone. But the potential is much greater than we realise – if we can structure more opportunities to re-use this data we will be helping to create thousands of job and improvements to daily life. So – you have until 30 November 2010, to
tell us how we can better manage the availability of this data
. What you tell us will feed into the review of the EU
first adopted in 2003.
Issue no. 410 - 6 August 2010
EU - ECJ rules on reconciling data protection law with freedom of information law
The European Commission was right to blank out the names of five people who attended a vital brewing industry meeting on data protection grounds because a beer maker had not justified its request for the names, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has ruled. Beer company Bavaria had claimed that it had the right to see who had attended the meetings under the EU's Access To Documents provisions of EU founding document the EC Treaty. The EU's Court of First Instance (CFI) said that the attendees could be named because to do so would not breach their right to privacy, as guaranteed by the Data Protection Regulation. The ECJ has over-ruled that decision, saying that the Commission was entitled to keep the names secret under that Regulation.
Commission v. Bavarian Lager
EU - European e-Justice internet portal offers quick answers to citizens' legal questions
The EU has launched the
European e-Justice portal
- an electronic one-stop-shop for access to justice throughout the EU. The web site benefits citizens, businesses, lawyers and judges with cross-border legal questions and boosts mutual understanding of different legal systems by contributing to the creation of a single area of justice. With more than 12,000 pages of content, the first version provides information and links on laws and practices in all Member States. For example, the portal offers information on legal aid, judicial training, and videoconferencing, as well as links to legal databases, online insolvency and land registers.
UK - Ministers turn to Facebook users for cuts suggestions
The government has announced a tie-up with the Facebook website as it seeks new ideas on spending cuts. The social networking site says it has 23 million members in the UK and has agreed to ask them to submit and vote on ideas for where cuts can be made. A website set up to ask public sector staff to suggest cuts was called an "outrage" by a union, but ministers say 50,000 ideas have been sent in.
Issue no. 409 - 6 June 2010
UK - David Cameron to make more government data available
Prime Minister David Cameron has set out plans to make more government data accessible to the public. Mr Cameron said he wanted to rip off the "cloak of secrecy" around government and public services - and extend transparency as far as possible. Data being made available includes items of major government spending and the pay of top civil servants. see
Government data: full text of David Cameron's letter pledging to open up the datasets
Issue no. 408 - 25 April 2010
EU - New Publication of Consolidated Treaties
(EU Law Blog)
There's a new publication of the consolidated version of the Treaties in the OJ, 2010 C 83, p. 1. You can download the complete version
. Here's the
link to the full collection
which includes the
Treaty on the European Union
Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union
. There's also the all important and useful
Table of Equivalences
showing the correspondence between the old and new article numbering. This publication also includes the
Charter of Fundamental Rights
which now has legal force.
UK - Ordnance Survey offers free data access
Mapping agency Ordnance Survey has launched a new service offering free and unrestricted access to most of its map data. After months of public consultation, OS OpenData is being launched by Communities Secretary John Denham. He said he hoped it would attract "a new wave of entrepreneurs" to reuse the data in innovative ways. Previous data sharing scheme OS OpenSpace was available for free but operated with limitations. In the past people have used it to create safe cycling and rambling routes, as well as maps detailing local post and phone boxes. OS OpenData has been funded by the government and is the result of the "Making Public Data Public" initiative announced by PM Gordon Brown in November 2009.
UK - Swingometer time again
The Guardian proudly presents a three-way interactive swingometer. After a time, the BBC have now
Issue no. 407 - 28 March 2010
Google launches tool for searching public data
Google is building on its partnership with the World Bank and other statistics gatherers to present an array of data in visual form, Google Public Data Explorer. The site takes public data regarding schools, population, crime, and even names to construct charts and graphs that help illustrate trends. Google is also releasing a list of the top search terms that can be answered with public data, based on the analysis of anonymized search data. School comparisons and unemployment topped the list of the most frequent queries, followed by population, sales tax, and salaries.
Issue no. 406 - 21 February 2010
UK - Tim Berners-Lee unveils government data project
Web founder Sir Tim Berners-Lee has unveiled his latest venture for the UK government, which offers the public better access to official data. A new website, data.gov.uk, will offer reams of public sector data, ranging from traffic statistics to crime figures, for private or commercial use. The target is to kickstart a new wave of services that find novel ways to make use of the information. Sir Tim was hired by PM Gordon Brown in June 2009 to oversee the project.
Issue no. 404 - 21 December 2009
Freeing Public Data
(Google European Public Policy Blog)
The value of open access to publicly funded data extends far beyond geographical or transport-related information. In the Netherlands, for example, we've combined freely available Central Statistics Bureau and European Central Bank information with search trends data to create a barometer for consumer confidence in a variety of industry sectors. And the combination of publicly funded epidemiological data sources with aggregated search query data has enabled us to launch the cutting edge Flu Trends product predicting the spread of an epidemic in 20 countries. Unfortunately, it is often difficult to get access to this information required to develop such cool, innovative and useful, services. Despite being public, open access to this data is not automatic, and complex licence agreements remain de rigueur. The good news is that the European Union understands the potential for innovation and economic growth that easy access to publicly funded information could unlock. It was also encouraging last week to see the UK government taking an important unilateral first step towards freeing public data: from April next year, a good number of the UK's Ordnance Survey maps will become freely available - and re-usable - online. This represents an important victory for the Guardian newspaper's laudable "Free Our Data" campaign which has been running for the last three years.
US - White House unveils open government directive
The Obama administration has officially unveiled its
Open Government directive
, a document that charges each federal agency with making high value data publicly available and with quickly coming up with formal open government plans. Among the major points of the directive (PDF), it:
Requires federal agencies to make a minimum of three "high-value" data sets available within 45 days.
Directs that within 60 days, the White House will launch a dashboard on Whitehouse.gov that will be used to hold each agency accountable for the contents of the directive.
Commits each federal agency to launching its own open government Web site.
Says that within 90 days, agencies will receive guidance from the federal Office of Management and Budget about creating challenges and contests for how best to use publicly available data.
And mandates that within 120 days, each agency will create an open government plan geared towards ensuring that the philosophies of openness, transparency, and collaboration are permanently "hardwired."
See also an
with Beth Noveck, the Obama administration's deputy chief technology officer for open government, a principal contributor to the new directive.
Issue no. 403 - 24 November 2009
UK - Ordnance Survey maps to go online
Ordnance Survey map data will be freely available online to everybody from 2010, the Government has announced. The move will allow people to interpret public statistics about crime, health and education by postcode, local authority or electoral boundary. Currently, the geographical data is only available free of charge to small scale developers. Opening it up is key to the success of government plans to free its data via data.gov.uk, say the site's creators.
Issue no. 402 - 18 October 2009
UK -Government advice urges tweeting
New government guidance has been published urging civil servants to use the micro-blogging site Twitter. Launched on the Cabinet Office website, the 20-page document is calling on departments to "tweet" on "issues of relevance or upcoming events". Neil Williams, of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), published the "template" strategy.
on the Cabinet Office's digital engagement blog, Mr Williams - who is BIS's head of corporate digital channels - conceded that 20 pages was a "a bit over the top for a tool like Twitter" but added: "I was surprised by just how much there is to say - and quite how worth saying it is."
US - FCC launches social networking sites
The Federal Communications Commission, the U.S. agency that regulates the telecommunications industry, is becoming more media savvy by joining popular networking sites such as Twitter, YouTube and Facebook. The agency, which is conducting a series of workshops to hear from the industry and public on what the FCC's national broadband plan should include, is also urging the public to vote on which topics are the most important.
Issue no. 401 - 26 July 2009
US - Wiki Government
Beth Simone Noveck's new book,
Wiki Government: How Technology Can Make Government Better, Democracy Stronger, and Citizens More Powerful
, could not be more relevant today as we observe the unfolding dynamics after Iran's disputed presidential election, where tech-savvy Iranians have turned to microblogging platforms and social networks to organize and send pictures and messages to the outside world in real time as events unfold. This serves as a powerful example of how new media tools can overcome government attempts at censorship and oppression.
Issue no. 399 - 7 June 2009
EU - Commission calls for action to unlock public sector information re-use
The Commission has reported on the impact of common EU rules on the re-use of public sector information (the PSI Directive) put in place in 2003. The Directive sets out how public sector bodies should make their information available for re-use in order to remove barriers such as discriminatory practices, monopoly markets and a lack of transparency. It has had a positive impact on the public sector information market. Commercial re-use of public sector information is now being encouraged by Member States, exclusive agreements in some Member States have been ended and charges for re-use have been lowered. However, the sector has not yet generated its full potential for the European economy. The Commission called on EU Member States to implement practical measures such as making it easier to get a license to re-use public sector information, to put an end to exclusive agreements, to identify information that could be reused and make it easily available, to ensure that EU rules have a positive impact on the economy. see the
on Re-use of Public Sector Information - Review of Directive 2003/98/EC and
Staff working document
Issue no. 398 - 13 April 2009
FR - La justice teste la médiation pour régler les litiges d'Internet
Dans le cadre d'un accord signé avec le Forum des droits sur l'Internet, sept juridictions en région parisienne lui transmettront des cas de litiges. Un procès, c'est beaucoup d'attente pour régler des problèmes parfois simples. Comme une transaction en ligne qui s'est mal passée ou une connexion à Internet qui laisse à désirer. Devant l'augmentation de ce type de litiges, plusieurs tribunaux ont décidé de se tourner vers le Forum des droits sur l'Internet (FDI) et son médiateur du Net en poste depuis 2004. La cour d'appel de Paris et l'organisme consultatif en matière d'Internet ont ainsi signé un protocole d'accord par lequel sept tribunaux proposeront aux justiciables de régler leurs litiges par l'intermédiaire du médiateur du Net, plutôt qu'à la barre.
US - Web-Savvy Obama Team Hits Unexpected Bumps
The team that ran the most technologically advanced presidential campaign in modern history is finding it difficult to adapt that model to government. WhiteHouse.gov, envisioned as the primary vehicle for President Obama to communicate with the online masses, has been overwhelmed by challenges that staffers did not foresee and technological problems they have yet to solve. Obama, for example, would like to send out mass e-mail updates on presidential initiatives, but the White House does not have the technology in place to do so. The same goes for text messaging, another campaign staple. See also
Too Early to Criticize Obama's Tech Policy?
(Wired) by Nicholas Thompson.
Issue no. 397 - 8 March 2009
US - Web-Savvy Obama Team Hits Unexpected Bumps
The team that ran the most technologically advanced presidential campaign in modern history is finding it difficult to adapt that model to government. WhiteHouse.gov, envisioned as the primary vehicle for President Obama to communicate with the online masses, has been overwhelmed by challenges that staffers did not foresee and technological problems they have yet to solve. Obama, for example, would like to send out mass e-mail updates on presidential initiatives, but the White House does not have the technology in place to do so. The same goes for text messaging, another campaign staple. see also
Too Early to Criticize Obama's Tech Policy?
(Wired) by Nicholas Thompson. The most legitimate complaint so far is that Obama has yet to appoint a CTO.
Issue no. 396 - 8 February 2009
EG - Revolution, Facebook-Style
(New York Times)
As the street protests went on, young Egyptians also were mobilizing and venting their anger over Gaza on what would, until recently, have seemed an unlikely venue: Facebook, the social-networking site. In most countries in the Arab world, Facebook is now one of the 10 most-visited Web sites, and in Egypt it ranks third, after Google and Yahoo. About one in nine Egyptians has Internet access, and around 9 percent of that group are on Facebook - a total of almost 800,000 members. This month, hundreds of Egyptian Facebook members, in private homes and at Internet cafes, have set up Gaza-related "groups".
UK - 390,000 to access child database
A child protection database containing the contact details for all under 18-year-olds in England will be accessible to 390,000 staff, say ministers. The ContactPoint database is intended to improve information sharing between professionals working with children. Children's Minister Baroness Morgan said parents would not be allowed to remove their children from the list. The government is also planning to set up another major child protection register for adults who work with young people. The Independent Safeguarding Authority plans to have a register of more than 11 million adults - representing about one in four of the adult population of England.
US - New Federal Government Team Focuses on Innovation and IT
Along with new positions such as the nation's first CTO, the Obama administration has created a new group, the TIGR (Technology, Innovation and Government Reform) Team. TIGR is dedicated to fostering innovation within government. As TIGR team member and Washington, D.C., CTO Vivek Kundra explains on the video, "One of the biggest problems of the federal government is that process has trumped outcome … everyone is focused on compliance; nobody is thinking about innovation and how to drive change within the government." TIGR hopes to foster innovation to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of government programs. Members of the TIGR team have a variety of experience, coming from backgrounds in both the private and public sectors. Along with CTO Kundra, the team includes Beth Noveck, professor of law at New York Law School; Dan Chenok, senior VP and general manager of Pragmatics Inc.; Blair Levin, managing director of Stifel Nicolaus Research Team; and Andrew McLaughlin, head of Global Public Policy and Government Affairs for Google. Besides focusing on innovation, the TIGR team is also working to increase transparency in government. The team recently launched the Citizen's Briefing Book, an online program that allows citizens to put their proposals and ideas about government issues online. Noveck explains that, with the Briefing Book, the government "will be sure to get the best ideas for the beginning of the administration." The TIGR also wants to bring other innovative and cost-effective changes to government, such as creating mash-ups with government data and utilizing cloud computing. See
Issue no. 394 - 7 December 2008
US - How Obama's Internet Campaign Changed Politics
(New York Times)
One of the many ways that the election of Barack Obama as president has echoed that of John F. Kennedy is his use of a new medium that will forever change politics. For Mr. Kennedy, it was television. For Mr. Obama, it is the Internet. "Were it not for the Internet, Barack Obama would not be president. Were it not for the Internet, Barack Obama would not have been the nominee," said Arianna Huffington, editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post. see also
Blogged Down in the Past
(Columbia Journalism Review).
Issue no. 393 - 9 November 2008
EU - Public procurement: Commission assesses the use of electronic procurement in Europe
The European Commission is launching an
to find out more about the actual experience of businesses and public purchasers with electronic public procurement ("e-procurement"). This will provide essential information for an evaluation which is taking place on the effective up-take of e-procurement across the EU. The deadline for responses is 18 December 2008.
UK - Report on the Re-use of Public Sector Information 2008
This time last year OPSI produced a report marking the first two years of operation of the UK regime for public sector information (PSI) and tracking progress made to date. As with the first report, OPSI?s aim was to ensure that the legislation that underpinned the various UK tools and initiatives to deliver PSI services 'is recognised, understood and put into practice'. The Report highlights the key milestones and tracks the progress made by OPSI and the UK government over the past year.
US - Barack Obama asks internet users to e-mail their policy ideas
Barack Obama launched the
for his transition to the White House, inviting users to send in their ideas for the future of the country. Users can also blog, and apply for jobs in an Obama administration via the website. The website continues a tactic Mr Obama employed to such brilliant effect during his campaign: make people feel they have a stake in his strategy, while simultaneously galvanising an army of supporters and new donors, who were kept in almost daily contact with the campaign through e-mails and text messages.
Links to news items about legal and regulatory aspects of Internet and the information society, particularly those relating to information content, and market and technology.
QuickLinks consists of
a free newsletter appearing approximately every two to three weeks. The newsletter is distributed by electronic mail through an "announcement only" mailing list.
a Web site with frequent updates, an events page, news items organised by category as well as chronologically by issue and full text search.
QuickLinks is edited by Richard Swetenham
This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons Licence