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The Europe roundup: Iceland, from the financial crisis to open data

BY Antonella Napolitano | Monday, March 29 2010

  • Iceland | From the financial crisis to open data
    In 2008 in Iceland the financial system imploded. "Not surprisingly, this has led to a demand for more transparency, more access to public data and more effective communication by the government. All of a sudden Open Data is seen as a high priority among various lobby groups, branches of government and in restoration planning" says Hjalmar Gislason, an open data activist and member of the Open Knowledge Foundation’s Working Group on EU Open Data. In a long and detailed post, Gislason explains how this is not just part of the "momentum" open data is gaining in Europe, but a further step in a path that started in late '90s.
    The Icelandic Modern Media Initiative and the presence of Wikileaks surely have a positive impact on the whole scenario and there is no doubt they will help boosting any future open data bill. The effects will be seen soon: "In December a rare cross-party parliamentary proposal (the first step in passing new legislation) was made, proposing a “default open” strategy for any public sector data. The Prime Minister’s Office has formed a committee that is to propose changes and improvements in legislation and suggest how to define the boundaries between data that is to be open and data that shall remain closed."
  • UK | A crowdsourced online debate for 2010 election
    UK newspaper The Telegraph launched a crowdsourcing website called Debate2010 where people can submit policy ideas, debate them and and vote for the ones they like. Content can be shared on social networks like Facebook and Twitter (the hashtag is #debate2010). Debate topics are set editorially and the debate on them can last from one to three days, depending on popularity. Issues vary from faith schools to road congestions and, of course, there is also one named "How can technology can improve the way the country is governed". After the election The Telegraph is willing to present the issues and ideas people have submitted and voted for to the new government..
  • EU | Gaming can make a better world
    Carl Haggerty explores the role of games in creating solutions when it comes to government and citizens engagemente. The main inspiration is the talk of game designer Jane McGonigal at TED, "Gaming can make a better world":

    According to McGonigal, gamers have superpowers that can help solve the world problems, from trust to motivation, from social relationship skills to productivity. "The challenge we have to make engagement and participation more engaging not just to young people but to people in general is to start inviting people into the game and make the game more interesting to start with" says Haggerty, proposing some observations and launching an interesting debate.

  • Ireland | Ireland’s first Twittering Taoiseach?
    The Taoiseach (Irish for Prime Minister) of Ireland, Brian Cowen is planning to follow the example of his British colleague, Gordon Brown, and join Twitter, as a first step of a new media approach. Times' Matt Cooper is doubtful that it could be a really effective tool for Mr. Cowen: "can Mr Cowen, who routinely lapses into verbose political jargon during interviews, “engage in an interface with the public”, as he once said, in just 140 characters?". It seems like an interesting challenge - also, Mr. Cowen should probably know that there is already a Brian Cowen on Twitter (that's what verified accounts are for).

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