I’m invited to a UK G8 Presidency event in London on transparency this week. What do you think I should raise? In his invitation, Nick Clegg the UK Deputy Prime Minister says:
‘We will use the afternoon to demonstrate why open government, open society and open economies are essential for jobs and sustainable development… We want to bring companies, civil society and governments together in a joint commitment to free up regional and global trade and to make it fairer….
I hope that the event will deliver a powerful informal collective statement based on discussions and presentations by senior business, civil society and governments about the 3Ts principles and actions required.’
I’ll approach this from my normal – ‘don’t forget the citizen’ angle i.e. that the ability of the citizen to use data that is released should be at the heart of an approach to open data.
‘People’s needs, the demand side needs much more work to get a public social economy of data working, by which I mean, helping regular folk find and use public data to achieve social outcomes – say a campaign on local development, for a new school or stopping arson.’
And that the sad machismo of much ‘big data’ language is alienating to regular people and can be an excuse for obfuscation:
‘I do like open data but the recent talk of big data puts me off – implicit in the language, although often inadvertent is the implication that you have to be big to get this stuff working for you. It makes me feel excluded’
In my role as a trustee of The Indigo Trust I’ve written about the need for transparency on the basic information infrastructure that enables democracy and accountability. Indigo has plenty of resources on our work in this area, my favourite of which is the Nigerian Constitution on a phone app, downloaded hundreds of thousands of times.
Over the last few years I have worked with some great people trying to do grass roots stuff on open data around the world and I wanted to ask them if there was anything they would like me to bring to the table at this event. The event will be attended I assume by people from the G8 countries – USA, France, Germany, Russia, Japan, Canada and hopefully others not in the club. If I get a copy of the draft statement for the event in advance I’ll post it here.
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