What really needs to change?

This initiative is all about trying to influence European Governments and the Commission and to do that we need to have a clear message and focus on what really matters. This is what we are trying to do via our emerging manifesto at I have justed submitted another version to the site which focussed on what I see as the key elements:

  1. transparency – getting all public sector organisations to commit to open themselves up to citizens;
  2. public sector information – ensuring that when public sector organisations do publish information they do so in machine-readable ways so that publication has maximum value;
  3. government data – encouraging governments to make as many data sets as possible available and facilitate use of them by outsiders;
  4. government legislation – ensuring that what is probably the most important type of government information is published in a way that makes it as useable as possible;
  5. citizen input – encouraging all public sector organisations to maximise the source for citizen contributions to their work and feedback.

Now of course I realise that there are many other great things governments could and should do, but the aim of the above is to pull together a clear focused group of ideas that on the one hand, people can identify with (i.e. be able to say: “yes, I support that!”) and on the other, give a clear message to governments and a clear standard against which their response (and actions) can be judged.

So what’s missing? Or what have I got wrong?

You can either comment in relation to this blog post or go to and create a new version of your own either completely new or an improvement to an existing version.

Many thanks for your contribution!


10 Responses

  1. I think items 2 and 3 are very similar and a little bit redundant. A more clear difference should be marked between them in order to avoid it.

  2. tks for your comment. I think it is a good point. I suppose I meant to differentiate between the mass of information the government puts out – from consultations to minutes of meetings to advice pamphlets etc – from data sets such as number of people unemployed or number of trains on time etc. As you suggest, either amalgamating the two points or making clearer what the difference is would be helpful.

  3. #4 “in a way that makes it as useable ”

    How about “re-usable” instead, usable makes it sound as if you mean from a GUI design standpoint.

    Then again, maybe that is your intention?

    IMO it is the geeks, zealot and maybe even the private sector who will ensure the info is usable, and findable etc

    Its difficult not to start getting too granular, but maybe add something about licensing?

  4. This is good stuff. I think 1 and 2 could be condensed into one. But this is only half the agenda (just like Power of Information). It deals with state-owned or stet-generated data.

    It’s missing the entire and essential dimension of personal data and their role in the provision of public services.

    You have to add in something on how personal data is handled, whether there’s a boundary between elective data for public services and coercive data for law enforcement; who owns and controls different sorts of personal data, whether access to public services should be through state-issued identifiers or (as the US is proposing) third-party identifiers.

    How are we to have personalised services? Are they to be personalised centrally, based on rich sets of personal data shared between organisations? Or are they to be personalised around the individual by the individual? My own belief is that only the latter is mathematically possible, as well as desirable on civil liberties and human dignity grounds.

    Where are Kim’s laws of identity? Is identity to be government issued or user-controlled?

    We must push into answering the questions government has not yet answered. Otherwise we’re just reflecting what is now current government rhetoric back at them.

    • Yes William knowing you I was expecting you on this!
      I see 2 crucial points: control over personal data and dealing with third party identification.
      But our goal is to make positive proposal. How would you write this down in the manifesto? Give it a try!

  5. I just found out about this project today (note to self: check RSS feeds more thoroughly). Apologies if the below has already been discussed or decided…

    One comment:

    I would change the terminology in item #5 from “citizen input” to the much broader “public participation”.

    While opening up to citizen input is often a desirable first step, there will certainly be opportunities for government to pursue higher levels of citizen participation.

    According to IAP2, at least, the term “citizen input” doesn’t cover the full spectrum of public participation (PDF).

  6. […] is to have great conversations between interesting people. We had some on Paul’s previous post, so we hope to get […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: