Editorial: Cities must be open about data collection, data itself

Have you heard about “smart cities”? The idea that cities can make innovative use of data, algorithms and automation to improve services has been around for a while, but it seems to be gaining traction. Earlier this year, City Journal magazine described the “glowing futuristic predictions” in the steadily increasing number of news articles about the smart-cities…

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Open government data is essential, but policies should not discourage public-private data partnerships

The open government data movement came into its own with the Obama administration, at a time when governments—and society more broadly—was beginning to truly realize the value of government data, and open-standards were taking root as drivers of innovation.    The thrust of this movement was to identify all valuable Government data sets, and to require…

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Beyond transparency: Why open data is good for local government

When state and local agencies open their financial data, benefits accrue not just to citizens who can keep tabs on local spending, but also to governments themselves. Open data is “essentially a change in the packaging of information, not a change in the information itself,” said Dean Ritz, the senior director of IP and digital…

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Research: Cities can save time on records requests by doing open data right

Adopting an open data policy significantly reduces the number of public record requests that cities receive compared to cities that lack an open data policy. This was the major finding of a study I set out to conduct earlier this summer, to understand the relationship between the growth of open data policies and longstanding freedom of information laws….

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Innovation Lead Will Help New Jersey Modernize Process, Support the Tech Economy

New Jersey’s inaugural chief innovation officer, a longtime champion of transparency in information, said she’ll continue to rely closely on open data and input from her colleagues at the Office of Information Technology (NJOIT), residents and other resources as she begins her new position. Beth Simone Noveck, director of the White House Open Government Initiative from 2009…

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Governors Association Works with Eight States to Improve Health Data Sharing

Eight states are in the early stages of a collaboration with the National Governors Association that could enhance their ability to use and share health-care data enterprise-wide, ultimately improving operations and services to residents. On June 13, NGA, which works with governors on public policy and governance issues, announced a health policy partnership around data best practices…

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90 Municipal Open Data Portals

It’s been more than 50 years since the passage of the federal Freedom of Information Act. The United States’ government makes thousands of datasets available to the public, and facilitates access through a unified federal open data portal. Despite the law and new technology, plenty of people find it difficult to get the information they…

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Two state officials are on a mission to make libraries the public’s hub for government data

News organizations and public-interest groups are skilled at sussing out difficult-to-navigate government data when they need it, but freedom-of-information laws aren’t as friendly to the public in general. Two states, though, are figuring out ways to deliver information sets to regular citizens who want to find things for themselves. In parts of California and Washington, that service is being delivered…

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Law Enforcement Agencies Spend Millions on Social Media Monitoring

In a world that is becoming increasingly communicative — where people often receive their news, share news, state their opinions and post pictures with their whereabouts via social media — the lines are perhaps a bit more blurry about how such information can be used.

Last month, the Brennan Center for Justice, a nonpartisan law and policy institute, released a map that details specific cities, counties and law enforcement agencies across the United States that have spent at least $10,000 on social media monitoring software.

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