4th IODC

Blog IODC 2016
Madrid. October 6-7, 2016


Open Data isn’t a Thing: it’s a principle of openness to serve the poor

June 3, 2015 by IODC0

A guest post by Lynne McAvoy on the ‘Open Data Around the World’ panel discussion.

Moderator, Alex Howard of Huffington Post, welcomed a panel of open data leaders to the 3rd International Open Data Conference 2015 (#iodc15). The panel included Beth Noveck, Director of The Governance Lab (GovLab), Sam Pitroda, telecom inventor, policy maker, and entrepreneur, Dr. Nii Quaynor, Chairman of NITA, and Martin Tisné, Director of Policy at Omidyar Network Ltd.

Sam Pitroda started the discussion by putting the onus on the open data community to use its power to ensure that the poor are well-served by ensuring that as platforms are developed, they will help the poor gain access to information that impacts on their lives.

Dr. Nii Quaynor focused on standards as a means of rationalizing private and public sector interests. With the enormous increase in the use of mobile devices, there is concern about how data will be gathered and the direction development will take.

The question of whether “open” and “public” mean the same is something to be considered as data is being released. The understanding is that if data belongs to the people, it is their right to see and use it. Open data should improve lives, be inclusive, equitable and equal, but there is still a data divide. “Open data isn’t a THING, it’s a principle of openness that cuts across many areas”.

There is a need to engage citizens in a combined top-down, bottom-up approach to open data, so that we can develop a complete picture around issues requiring solutions. The way to hasten change is to make opening our data easier by using new technologies and software, educating others on how to extract and use the information, and by dedicating more people to the task.

As we release open data, we will need to be able to ensure its integrity so that it can be trusted. We will also have to clearly define the distinction between privacy and openness, particularly with respect to ownership and governance over personal data.


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