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What Is Open Gov?

What is Open Gov?

Rough notes, to be cleaned up.

KF: Karen Fung @counti8
GP: Gary Pollack @gpoltech

KF

Questions to ask when considering open government:
  • how accessible is govt
  • can they ask what for what they need?
  • being able to use data and tech to make actions of govt more visible

GP: idea has become an ad hoc movement among technologists and tech depts in govt
non tech side is important
civic engagement how to translate online activity with in-person substance, partnerships

GP: egovernment and egovernance, keeping them apart when politicians change but beaurocrats don't
how do you keep services evolving, while the governance side is flexible

KF: some parts of government are open, others aren't, so staff may not know what the other departments are doing

Comment from small-town Washingtonian: eye to where the process has gone sour as well as it has gone good. Commenting process is still not as constructive it can be, technology needs to fit into a larger system

GP: Seattle, police department, highly politicized, alledged racial profiling events, police radio, 911 calls plotted, strigent policy of responding on social media (i.e. they don't, high risk of toxic conversations)

Question: is open gov designed to neutralize politicization of government services? GIS world, had all this information, with a small channel to get it out. 

GP: easy to sell a department on open data because it's not political, easy to sell departmental interest, ogranizational development 

Collaborative rationality
  • Authenitic dialogue
  • Interdependency
  • Diversity - conversation takes on a different type of legitimacy

Culture change conversation can be threatening
typical open gov initiative comes out of mayor's office, sometimes difficult to penetrate departments who want to continue doing their work, had been asked to do something different with a lower budget, open data might be a way to still do that work. 

KF and GP are both grad students butting heads, trying to do more with less, do different in their departments

Comment: Departments required to fulfil data requirements, but sometimes seen as a checklist, not a means to change culture, conversation

Comment: Public affairs in risk management mode, "give me the top 10 ways people are going to use the data"

Comment: open data conversation is fairly established, "remember when we decided what we were going to put on our website?" Already had the fear conversations, and got through it. Security worries: ask what was one of the first sectors to make interactions possible on the Internet? Banks! 

How to convince that government that they don't need to know what people are going to use the data for.

Comment: departments should be using web services internally anyway, so why not make it public too?

Having a blog, Twitter, can reduce FOI requests because it's archived.