Personal Democracy Plus Our premium content network. LEARN MORE You are not logged in. LOG IN NOW >

New York State Unveils New Open Data Portal

BY Sam Roudman | Tuesday, March 12 2013

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo launched a new open data portal Monday, Open.ny.gov, following through on a promise made in his State of the State speech in January. The site will feature data from every New York State agency, and tie in localities from all over the state.

“States aren’t just big cities, they include local government - towns, counties - as components,” says John Kaehny, Executive Director of the government accountability organization Reinvent Albany.

Kaehny says part of what makes the initiative important nationally is its focus beyond a single city.

“Most Americans live under local government, outside of big cities,” he says. “Outside of big cities, this is the largest source of data closest to the public.”

The site is a product of an open data pilot project conducted by the New York State Health Department called the METRIX Project (Maximizing Essential Tools for Research Innovation and eXcellence Project). Open.ny.gov’s current offerings come from 30 agencies and authorities, and feature over 200 datasets. They are a product of an early outreach effort by the Governor’s office, but the site will be growing in the coming months.

According to an executive order signed by Governo Cuomo, New York’s Office of Information Technology Services will administer the site, and every state agency has a month to appoint a data coordinator, a deputy commissioner or division head who will identify and submit their agency’s data to the state. Within 90 days, ITS will issue a provisional “Open Data Handbook,” which will lay out the guidelines for publishing data. Agencies and organizations have six months to create a catalogue of all their publishable state data, and create a schedule for making that data publicly available, which itself will be made publicly available. Within 240 days, the handbook will be finalized.

The state hopes the portal will save not only citizens' time, but government money as well.

“Government is the largest user of government data, but much of that data is currently in silos and hard for government to find and use,” says Kaehny. “So, there are big time cost savings when government workers spend less time looking for data.”

News Briefs

RSS Feed tuesday >

Ruck.us Reboots As a Candidate Digital Toolkit That's a Bit Too Like Democracy.com

Ruck.us launched with big ambitions and star appeal, hoping to crack the code on how to get millions of people to pool their political passions through their platform. When that ambition stalled, its founder Nathan Daschle--son of the former Senator--decided to pivot to offering political candidates an easy-to-use free web platform for organizing and fundraising. Now the new Ruck.us is out from stealth mode, entering a field already being served by competitors like NationBuilder, Salsa Labs and Democracy.com. And strangely enough, Ruck.us seems to want its early users to ask Democracy.com for help. GO

Armenian Legislators: You Can Be As Anonymous on the 'Net As You Like—Until You Can't

A proposed bill in Armenia would make it illegal for media outlets to include defamatory remarks by anonymous or fake sources, and require sites to remove libelous comments within 12 hours unless they identify the author.

GO

monday >

The Good Wife Looks for the Next Snowden and Outwits the NSA

Even as the real Edward Snowden faces questions over his motives in Russia, another side of his legacy played out for the over nine million viewers of last night's The Good Wife, which concluded its season long storyline exploring NSA surveillance. In the episode titled All Tapped Out, one young NSA worker's legal concerns lead him to becoming a whistle-blower, setting off a chain of events that allows the main character, lawyer Alicia Florrick (Julianna Margulies), and her husband, Illinois Governor Peter Florrick (Chris Noth), to turn the tables on the NSA using its own methods. GO

The Expanding Reach of China's Crowdsourced Environmental Monitoring Site, Danger Maps

Last week billionaire businessman Jack Ma, founder of the e-commerce company Alibaba, appealed to his “500 million-strong army” of consumers to help monitor water quality in China. Inexpensive testing kits sold through his company can be used to measure pH, phosphates, ammonia, and heavy metal levels, and then the data can be uploaded via smartphone to the environmental monitoring site Danger Maps. Although the initiative will push the Chinese authorities' tolerance for civic engagement and activism, Ethan Zuckerman has high hopes for “monitorial citizenship” in China.

GO

The 13 Worst Bits of Russia's Current and Maybe Future Internet Legislation

It appears that Russia is on the brink of passing still more repressive Internet regulations. A new telecommunications bill that would require popular blogs—those with 3,000 or more visits a day—to join a government registry and conform to government-mandated standards is expected to pass this week. What follows is a list of the worst bits of both proposed and existing Russian Internet law. Let us know in the comments or on Twitter if we missed anything.

GO

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.

GO

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.

GO

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.

GO

More