Monday, March 20, 2017

On open government

An item at Opensource.com discusses the topic of "Open Government." This is timely for me, because where I work (local government) we have been building a new Open and Accessible Data Portal. Open data and open government is the new norm. Government is "of the people, by the people, for the people" (Lincoln, Gettysburg Address, 1863) and open data makes information about your government available to you, the taxpayer.

The Opensource.com article describes open government as "one with high levels of transparency and mechanisms for public scrutiny and oversight in place, with an emphasis on government accountability." Another way to describe open government is providing information in an open and accessible way, without filters.

The key goal for open government is transparency. Anyone should be able to view information about the government.

Open data laws require that public and government organizations provide information upon request, such as a US Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. There are a few exceptions, such as information related to security, but generally any information is accessible by making a FOIA request.

Open government takes this a step further. Why wait for the request before we make it available? Let's share the information proactively. If we can provide the raw data, governments should provide that.

And that's exactly what we are doing at my county. I'm proud to do this work.

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