Over the past week there has been a flurry of discussion in Ireland over proposed amendments to the Freedom of Information Act here and has led to public reversal by the Minister responsible.
Freedom of access public information is a core principle in a liberal democracy and Ireland has in the past few years had a middling reputation in this arena. Continue reading Does Open mean Accessible?
In case it hasn’t been obvious I do like things that have open in front of them. It’s an ethos I have been exploring personally and professionally for some time now and generally encourage such ponderings amongst module participants. You ‘enjoyed’ an interesting discussion on Free last week and we contrasted it with the concept of open. To attempt to root our explorations in the current I will draw your attention to the Open Government Partnership meeting that is took place in London this week. As I mentioned in an earlier post Ireland has recently committed to this important initiative and Minister Brendan Howlin will be attending the first summit since Ireland made this commitment. This is an important time for Ireland. Although the Action Plan for Ireland remains in development following a series of public engagements over the summer, there is gathering momentum amongst citizen groups to inform the eventual Action Plan. Continue reading All About Open
“One of the biggest roadblocks to implementing local community ideas is finding resources in city government or local organizations who might be able to help. More importantly, how can you involve like-minded individuals in the discussion? A new type of civic engagement platform – like MindMixer – can help. MindMixer is in essence a “virtual town hall,” a community forum where constituents can meet to discuss issues and share ideas. (Here’s an overview of how MindMixer works.)”
This probably deserves some good comparative study (not just variety and access to government services but also quality of services available), but it is good to see an evolving comprehensive spot to access eGovernment services in Ireland. There’s comparable services out there with similar pointers, but this is a positive direction for officialdom here. The Gov.ie online services directory is simple and straightforward and soliciting user input to aggregate access to available services. I like the crowdsourced audit but wonder about the balance between coordinating access and a means to coordinate an effective delivery.
The Independent today headlined with an ‘investigative’ piece detailing how the revenue will be using ‘sophisticated mapping technology provided by GeoDirectory to quantify access to services and apply a multiplier to the property tx to be implemented later this year. In a nutshell (and details of the entire scheme remain publicly hazy – let’s talk about that tonight) they propose to triangulate access to services such as the Luas, the DART, shops, schools and other amenities to increase tax payable – assuming you use things closer to you. The first question I have to ask is : Is this is overly simplistic (fair, equitable, legal) way of determining taxable property value? Clearly it is deserving of deeper investigation itself…but there you go. What do you think?
Continue reading So you’ve heard about Postal Codes have you?
Launching on 11 October, DailWatch promises to be a two way street allowing citizens to keep tabs on what their TDs are up to as well as allowing TD’s to guage the pulse of their constituents. Definitely a space to watch. There are a variety of places that attempt to provide a means for Irish resident’s to rant, to express their concerns and you can of course go to oireachtas.ie to search databases to see what hansard can tell you about what’s actually going on behind the scenes. I have been a subscriber to custom feeds from Kildarestreet.com allowing you to get transcripts whenever selected TD’s or Senator’s appear on record. Here is an opportunity to marry both sides of the street and I for one am looking forward to seeing what transpires. You can also follow @dailwatch for updates.
The Finnish government has just approved a new unique ID for all citizens thus paving the way to the new Finnish Open Ministry platform. Open Ministry is a follow on to the ‘citizens’ initiative‘ which allows for a mandatory vote on new laws proposed and backed with A huge and fascinating experiment in extending citizen involvement but also true to the ethos, the Open Ministry platform is open-source and available on GitHub. This is definitely one to watch.
Related: Could crowdsourcing be a better way to make legislation?
I am very impressed with a Norwegian initiative called the ‘Data Hotel‘. It’s an EU funded approach to providing the mechanism and the standards to make data from public sector agencies freely available. It addresses one of the key challenges to organizations today – not that they don’t want to share – simply that they lack the tools and resources to do it with increasingly depleted resources. Enter the Data Hotel. It embraces all the right open access standards, not just for the data itself, but in terms of open source software. Continue reading Getting Back to How we Share Public Data
Salon has an interesting look at the impact of a pilot project in Paris (CityPulse) that distributed 100 sensor wristbands and tracked a variety of environmental factors as well as paths taken over the space of a year. Part of the Smart Cities initiatives that emerging worldwide and aided by IBM and Cisco among other corporate players, these programmes demonstrate the potential for a touted €16B annual market. It’s about making people and things digitally aware and networked. Continue reading Urban Information via the Green Band
In an intriguing (largely insofar it is necessary) the EU Parliament has called for hard rules to strengthen the accountability of EU-based companies that export tools that can be used to block websites and monitor mobile communications. Laudable definitely. Enforceable – maybe??