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The Europe Roundup: Patterns for Policy-Making 2.0

BY Antonella Napolitano | Saturday, July 16 2011

  • EU | Patterns for policy-making 2.0
    PdF Europe 2010 speaker David Osimo is working on the possible uses of collaborative government. His research results point to three categories that fit the policy cycle: definition, implementation and evaluation.

    In the definition phase, crowdsourcing is useful to identify innovative ideas, and filter them. Tools for discussion are probably the mainstream, but the paradigmatic case are idea-storms, like, very much used by the US government. But also wikis, such as the co-definition of the Expertnet project. Or commenting tools like
    In the implementation phase, we refer to collaborative project that actually solve problems, either by identifying innovative solutions such as and, or by leveraging distributed action such as, and the collaborative tagging of cultural content in the Finnish case. These cases use largely social networking technologies, which are very useful in nudging action.
    The evaluation phase is probably the most used and popular. In this category I place apps like fixmystreet, for crowdsourcing the feedback over the city, as well as different feedback tools such as patientopinion. But I also place visualisation tools that make sense of open data.

    Osimo goes further, trying to produce a scheme of those new kinds of policy cycles: "The central circle is the policy making cycle. The middle circle are the typical tasks of policy-making related to each phase of the cycle. The external circles are the tools to be used."

    Do you want to help him with your feedback?

  • EU | Should we be able to re-use scientific data?
    The European Commission is asking citizens' opinion on the public consultation and preservation of scientific data.
    Accessing and re-using knowledge is a key objective of the Digital Agenda for Europe and the Innovation Union.
    Neelie Kroes, European Commission Vice President for the Digital Agenda, said: "The results of publicly funded research should be circulated as widely as possible as a matter of principle. The broad dissemination of knowledge, within the European Research Area and beyond, is a key driver of progress in research and innovation, and thus for jobs and growth in Europe. Our vision is Open Access to scientific information so that all of us benefit as much as possible from investments in science. To accelerate scientific progress, but also for education, for innovation and for other creative re-use. For the same reason we must preserve scientific records for future generations".
    Interested parties are invited to express their views on the following key science policy questions:
    • how scientific articles could become more accessible to researchers and society at large
    • how research data can be made widely available and how it could be re-used
    • how permanent access to digital content can be ensured and what barriers are preventing the preservation of scientific output
  • Austria | Open data in Vienna
    The way to transparency and open government hasn't been easy in Austria: while the European PSI directive from 2003 was implemented into national law in 2005, many public bodies failed to respond to inquiries. The first significant steps of a movement can be traced about a year ago with the start of a national Open Knowledge Foundation group.
    Today the City of Vienna can show some significant work in this direction with the creation of an open data portal.
    As explained by Brigitte Lutz on the Open Knowledge Foundation blog:

    the city shares data for population, economics and science. Relevant data comes from around the areas of statistics, geospatial, transportation and economics. Personal data are not affected. An essential prerequisite for the usability of the records is as open as possible in their machine readable formats.
    The Data Catalog started with more than 30 machine-readable data sets and is continuously expanding. The entries are geo-referencing data, statistics and budget data. The starter pack included for example old material collecting points, kindergartens, hospitals, or short-term parking zones as geo-referenced data as well as a set of population statistics and data on accounts and financial affairs of the city.
    The data is published under a Creative Commons Licence.

    The open data portal includes a forum to communicate with the experts. Monthly sessions of information will be held and livestreamed.
    At the moment the data portal is available only in German.

During the last year and a half, the monthly Internet audience in Russia increased by 27 percent.

Transparency and Public Shaming: Pakistan Tackles Tax Evasion

In Pakistan, where only one in 200 citizens files their income tax return, authorities published a directory of taxpayers' details for the first time. Officials explained the decision as an attempt to shame defaulters into paying up.


wednesday >

Facebook Seeks Approval as Financial Service in Ireland. Is the Developing World Next?

On April 13 the Financial Times reported that Facebook is only weeks away from being approved as a financial service in Ireland. Is this foray into e-money motivated by Facebook's desire to conquer the developing world before other corporate Internet giants do? Maybe.


The Rise and Fall of Iran's “Blogestan”

The robust community of Iranian bloggers—sometimes nicknamed “Blogestan”—has shrunk since its heyday between 2002 – 2010. “Whither Blogestan,” a recent report from the University of Pennsylvania's Iran Media Program sought to find out how and why. The researchers performed a web crawling analysis of Blogestan, survey 165 Persian blog users, and conducted 20 interviews with influential bloggers in the Persian community. They found multiple causes of the decline in blogging, including increased social media use and interference from authorities.


tuesday >

Weekly Readings: What the Govt Wants to Know

A roundup of interesting reads and stories from around the web. GO

Russia to Treat Bloggers Like Mass Media Because "the F*cking Journalists Won't Stop Writing"

The worldwide debate over who is and who isn't a journalist has raged since digital media made it much easier for citizen journalists and other “amateurs” to compete with the big guys. In the United States, journalists are entitled to certain protections under the law, such as the right to confidential sources. As such, many argue that blogging should qualify as journalism because independent writers deserve the same legal protections as corporate employees. In Russia, however, earning a place equal to mass media means additional regulations and obligations, which some say will lead to the repression of free speech.


Politics for People: Demanding Transparent and Ethical Lobbying in the EU

Today the Alliance for Lobbying Transparency and Ethics Regulation (ALTER-EU) launched a campaign called Politics for People that asks candidates for the European Parliament to pledge to stand up to secretive industry lobbyists and to advocate for transparency. The Politics for People website connects voters with information about their MEP candidates and encourages them to reach out on Facebook, Twitter or by email to ask them to sign the pledge.


monday >

Security Agencies Given Full Access to Telecom Data Even Though "All Lebanese Can Not Be Suspects"

In late March, Lebanese government ministers granted security agencies unrestricted access to telecommunications data in spite of some ministers objections that it violates privacy rights. Global Voices reports that the policy violates Lebanon's existing surveillance and privacy law, Law 140, but has gotten little coverage from the country's mainstream media.