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….


OpenGrid: Conquer Chicago’s mountain of data with this powerful tool

Chicago just launched a new website called OpenGrid, which is the city’s attempt at parsing the avalanche of data it’s been collecting for the past five years.

OpenGrid is a more usable evolution of the city’s Data Portal, a bare-bones website that hosts all of the publicly available information, which includes everything from building permits to noise complaints to city employee salaries (surprise: this is the most popular data set).


Open government group compiles data on all traffic stops in North Carolina

A nonprofit civil rights organization — with support from the White House — has launched a website that will contain up-to-date information about nearly 20 million traffic stops made by every police department and every police officer in North Carolina over the past 15 years.

The Southern Coalition for Social Justice will launch Thursday morning in Durham. The website, the first of its kind in the United States, will rely on public records on police traffic stops, vehicle searches and use of force – broken down by race and ethnicity – since 2000.


Data reveals the most toxic towns in Pennsylvania, the U.S.

Toxic waste is an invisible problem across much of the United States, including Pennsylvania.

Toxic chemicals plague hundreds of municipalities in the Keystone State, and it’s not just in the places you would expect, with industrial refineries in sight.Thanks to the Right-to-Know Network website,, the public now has a detailed look into exactly where toxic pollution is the worst, and exactly what that pollution is comprised of. Continue…


Inside the OpenMIND: Open source social media datamining and “predictive” policing

From PR Watch: Records obtained by DBA Press and the Center for Media and Democracy (DBA/CMD) shed new light on a technology, OpenMIND, utilized by law enforcement/counter-terrorism fusion center personnel in gathering and analyzing mass amounts of “open source intelligence” derived from the online lives of Americans.


Open government and conflicts with public trust and privacy: Recent research ideas

From Journalist’s Resource: Since the Progressive Era, ideas about the benefits of government openness — crystallized by Justice Brandeis’s famous phrase about the disinfectant qualities of “sunlight” — have steadily grown more popular and prevalent. Post-Watergate reforms further embodied these ideas. Now, notions of “open government” and dramatically heightened levels of transparency have taken hold as zero-cost digital dissemination has become a reality….