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The Europe Roundup: A FixMyStreet Milestone for mySociety

BY Antonella Napolitano | Monday, January 30 2012

Photo: Todd Mecklem / Flickr
  • UK | A FixMyStreet Milestone for mySociety 

    After the 100,000th Freedom of Information request sent through the WhatDoTheyKonow transparency initiative, mySociety has just reached another milestone in one of their civic projects: 200,000 reports have in fact been sent through FixMyStreet.

    The website allows people to report on local problems, like potholes and broken streetlights, directly to local authorities.

    The MySociety team writes:

    Those reports are the work of over 87,000 people, 52% of whom had never before reported an issue to the council. That statistic is important to us: we aim to make it easy to access civic rights, especially for people doing so for the first time. 

    [...] Like other mySociety projects, FixMyStreet is, of course, built on open code, so that it can be replicated by anyone with a little technical knowledge. The FixMyStreet interface is already up and running in Norway, and soon, the Philippines will see trials of their own version – proving that the model can work in very different infrastructures. Meanwhile, the basic FixMyStreet concept has been replicated in Brazil, New Zealand, and South Korea. Here in the UK, some councils have bought FixMyStreet to embed into their own websites.

    FixMyStreet was launched in February 2007.

  • Germany | Berlin Police Hooked on Mobile Phones 

    German newspaper Tageszeitung reports that the Berlin police has collected data on 4.2 million mobile phone connections, since 2008.
    PressEurope writes:

    Most of the data has been collected in order to capture those who have set fire to luxury cars, a phenomenon that has been rampant in the German capital for the last five years. In 410 data requests by the judiciary to mobile phone operators, the police were able to identify the names and home addresses of people located near a burning car. "The only problem is they never identified any suspects,"
    Berlin's regional opposition, composed of Die Linke [The Left Party], The Greens and The Pirate Party, is up in arms over the situation. For its part, the ruling coalition of Social-Democrats and Christian Democrats supports the police, arguing that "all the state's resources must be mobilised to find the pyromaniacs"

  • EU | A Tweetchat with Commissioner for Digital Agenda Neelie Kroes 

    Today Commissioner for Digital Agenda Neelie Kroes will have a Tweetchat from 3 to 3:30pm (Brussels time).
    Commissioner Kroes announced it on her blog, pointing to the many issues on the table of the European Commission at the moment:

    This is an opportunity for you to send in comments or questions on my recent announcement on cloud computing, on privacy online, and on the Commission’s recent proposal to revise data protection rules across Europe (on which my blog is here). This is why I would like to get your questions and comments on these issues – and of course others. Just send me a tweet from any time now – using the #askneelie hashtag – and I’ll do my best to respond on Monday. 

  • Finland | Finland Lets You Use Statistics and Topographical Data

    Two news on the open data side are coming in these days from Finland.

    Statistics Finland has confirmed new Terms of Use for the utilisation of statistical data.

    As explained by the organization:

    The right extends to use for both commercial and non-commercial purposes. The aim is to make further utilisation of the data easier and thereby increase the exploitation and effectiveness of statistics in society.
    At the same time, an open interface has been built to the StatFin database. [...] It contains data from some 200 sets of statistics, thousands of tables and hundreds of millions of individual data cells. The contents of the StatFin database have been systematically widened in the past few years and its expansion with various information contents and regional divisions will be continued even further. 

    Moreover, starting May 1 2012, the Finnish National Land Survey (NLS) will open its topographic data sets to the public. The Finnish Topographic database is considered the most extensive, up-to-date and accurate database of Finland, reports EPSI platform.