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WeGov

Is Civic Hacking Becoming 'Our Pieces, Loosely Joined?'

BY David Eaves | Wednesday, July 25 2012

David Eaves writes: "So far, it appears that the spirit of re-use among the big players, like MySociety and the Sunlight Foundation*, only goes so deep. Indeed often it seems they are limited to believing others should re-use their code. There are few examples where the bigger players dedicate resources to support other people's components. Again, it is fine if this is all about creating competing platforms and competing to get players in smaller jurisdictions who cannot finance creating whole websites on their own to adopt it. But if this is about reducing duplication then I'll expect to see some of the big players throw resources behind components they see built elsewhere. So far it isn't clear to me that we are truly moving to a world of 'small pieces loosely joined' instead of a world of 'our pieces, loosely joined.'" Read More

Containers, Facebook, Baseball and the Dark Matter around Open Data (#IOGDC keynote)

BY David Eaves | Friday, July 13 2012

Thursday, after spending the day at the International Open Government Data Conference at the World Bank (and co-hosted by data.gov) I left both upbeat and concerned. Upbeat because of the breadth of countries participating and the progress being made. I was worried however because of the type of conversation we are having how it might limit the growth of both our community and the impact open data could have. Indeed as we talk about technology and how to do open data we risk missing the real point of the whole exercise - which is about use and impacts. To get drive this point home I want to share three stories that highlight the challenges, I believe, we should be talking about. Read More

WeGov

Ushahidi and the Long Tail of Mapping for Social Change

BY David Eaves | Monday, July 9 2012

What makes a mapping project successful? Image: Trafficking map Epawa SMS

A new website called DeadUshahidi launched recently with the express purpose of tracking Ushahidi mapping projects that experienced little use. While the Ushahidi team responded in good form, but it was hard not to see the website as a shot across its bow.

David Eaves explores why there are so many Ushahidi-powered mapping projects that appear to have fallen by the wayside — and why that might actually be a good thing for people who want to use geospatial data for social change.

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Hamburg’s New Transparency Law – Lessons for Activists

BY David Eaves | Friday, June 29 2012

David Eaves: "Two weeks ago, the State Government of Hamburg passed a new law that required all government information not impacted by privacy issues to be posted online. The law is part of a next generation of access to information laws — like the one passed in Brazil — that requires government information to be disclosed and made available online in a machine readable format. As Christian Humborg, one of the key activists behind the law, said: “An Adobe PDF document is no longer sufficient.” I asked him what activists around the world could learn from victory for Hamburg's transparency advocates. What follows is a summary of our conversation." Read More

WeGov

OGP Diplomacy and South Africa’s Secrecy Law

BY David Eaves | Wednesday, June 20 2012

Open Government Partnership member South Africa has proposed a bill that would make it illegal to publish or even possess leaked government documents, an early test of the partnership's ability to set new international ... Read More

WeGov

Open Data, Open Standards, and Community Activism

BY David Eaves | Tuesday, May 29 2012

Of a project in Western New York to help local residents track pollution in their area, David Eaves writes, " activists and non-profits have not even begun to tap the power of open data." Read More

WeGov

Culture Hacking: How One Project is Changing Transparency in Chile

BY David Eaves | Wednesday, May 16 2012

A few weeks after the launch of Inspector de Intereses — a Chilean website that allows citizens to map money trails in politics — the team at La Fundación Ciudadano Inteligente, the organization behind the site, had an interesting visitor. At the doorstep stood a member of parliament, carrying a stack of papers which outlined his interest in various corporations. He had received the team’s letter inviting him — and his colleagues — to update his records, and here he was, ready to do so, in person no less.

That eager senator wasn’t alone: about 20 percent of Chilean parliamentarians took the opportunity to update their records. In a country where conflicts of interest are not regularly discussed or acknowledged, this was an interesting shift, a change in culture and in process that was part of a Ciudadano Inteligente's strategy to make more transparent the link between money and power in Chile.

Read More

WeGov

How to Evaluate the State of Open Data

BY David Eaves | Tuesday, May 8 2012

By tedeytan from Washington, DC (Library of Congress Reading Room Open House 7)

The Open Knowledge Foundation recently announced that it will organize and coordinate an Open Data Census. The intent is to create a basic baseline against which governments can measured around how much (and how ... Read More

WeGov

Why Open Corporate Data Matters

BY David Eaves | Tuesday, May 1 2012

We don’t normally think of corporate data as democratic data. But limited liability – the right to have an legal entity that protects its shareholders from personal bankruptcy – is an enormous privilege conferred by the state to individuals. In a 19th century democracy – to say nothing of a 21st century one - who is making use of this privilege, and to what ends, should be a right of public knowledge. Here's why--and a new report on who is doing it well. (The bad news is, no one.) Read More

WeGov

The Opportunities and Challenges of the Open Government Partnership

BY David Eaves | Monday, April 23 2012

A multilateral partnership on open government and transparency, the Open Government Partnership is still in a formative stage — just learning how to walk. But it will be tested early by a number of issues and how the steering committee reacts over the next few months are likely to determine the fate of the initiative — whether it becomes a transformative body that fosters and supports strong new expectations for what qualifies a country as open and democratic or if it becomes more of a talking shop, like the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, which shepherds along more incremental progress. Read More