They then use Google Maps as an example, which firstly isn’t entirely correct, as also pointed out by the Neogeografen, a geodata blogger, who explains how Google Maps isn’t offering raw data, but merely an image of the data. You are not allowed to download and manipulate the data – or run it off your own server.
But secondly I don’t think it’s very appropriate to highlight Google and their Maps project as a golden example of a business that lets its data flow unhindered to the public. It’s true that they are offering some data, but only in a very limited way – and definitely not as open data – and thereby not as progressively as the article suggests.
Surely it’s hard to accuse Google of not being progressive in general. The article states how Google Maps’ data are used by over 800,000 apps and businesses across the globe. So yes, Google has opened its silo a little bit, but only in a very controlled and limited way, which leaves these 800,000 businesses dependent on the continual flow of data from Google and thereby not allowing them to control the very commodities they’re basing their business on. This particular way of releasing data brings me to the problem that we’re facing: Knowing the difference between making data available and making them open.
Open data is characterized by not only being available, but being both legally open (released under an open license that allows full and free reuse conditioned at most to giving credit to it’s source and under same license) and technically available in bulk and in machine readable formats – contrary to the case of Google Maps. It may be that their data are available, but they’re not open. This – among other reasons – is why the global community around the 100% open alternative Open Street Map is growing rapidly and an increasing number of businesses choose to base their services on this open initiative instead.
But why is it important that data are open and not just available? Open data strengthens the society and builds a shared resource, where all users, citizens and businesses are enriched and empowered, not just the data collectors and publishers. “But why would businesses spend money on collecting data and then give them away?” you ask. Opening your data and making a profit are not mutually exclusive. Doing a quick Google search reveals many businesses that both offer open data and drives a business on them – and I believe these are the ones that should be highlighted as particularly progressive in articles such as the one from Computerworld.
One example is the British company OpenCorporates, which offer their growing repository of corporate register data as open data, and thereby cleverly positions themselves as a go-to resource in that field. This approach strengthens their opportunity to offer consultancy services, data analysis and other custom services for both businesses and the public sector. Other businesses are welcome to use the data, even for competitive use or to create other services, but only under the same data license – and thereby providing a derivative resource useful for OpenCorporates. Therein lies the real innovation and sustainability – effectively removing the silos and creating value for society, not just the involved businesses. Open data creates growth and innovation in our society – while Google’s way of offering data probably mostly creates growth for…Google.
We are seeing a rising trend of what can be termed “open-washing” (inspired by “greenwashing“) – meaning data publishers that are claiming their data is open, even when it’s not – but rather just available under limiting terms. If we – at this critical time in the formative period of the data driven society – aren’t critically aware of the difference, we’ll end up putting our vital data streams in siloed infrastructure built and owned by international corporations. But also to give our praise and support to the wrong kind of unsustainable technological development.
The Responsible Data Forum is, in the engine room’s words, an “effort to engage activists and organizations that are actually using data in advocacy towards better understanding and strengthening responsible data practices” – and the event brought together a broad range of people, from those documenting human rights abuses, funders of social innovation projects, technologists providing secure hosting, net neutrality campaigners, digital security trainers, and open data advocates, to name just a few areas of knowledge.
The breadth of expertise within the room, as well as the heavy focus on mixing groups, talking to “friends you haven’t met yet” and asking questions – aptly described in the first session as “a heroic act of leadership” – were just some of the event’s strengths. It was held in typical Aspiration Tech style: post-it notes aplenty, Sharpies flying around the room, and – most importantly – all in a reassuring, safe space to discuss any topics that came to mind.
A variety of issues had been floated pre-event as potentially being covered, but the agenda was drawn from the wants and needs of the participants, as the day was structured first with a discovery phase in the morning, followed by an afternoon of active making, doing, and prototyping.
A surprise for me came once we had clustered what we wanted to cover within the field of responsible data. Among all the themes and topics that came out of the session, nobody had mentioned the overlap between the ‘open data’ community and the responsible data community in the room. Of course, there were familiar faces from the Open Knowledge Foundation community, but they were primarily flying the flag for other projects of theirs.
For me, the need for overlap between talking about data ethics and responsible management, collection, and use of data is of critical importance to the open data movement. There are so many overlaps in issues mentioned in the two communities, but they are usually discussed from very different perspectives. I was happy to move on to thinking about what materials could be created in order to bring the open community closer to these discussions, and being able to brainstorm with people I don’t normally get to work with brought up a whole range of interesting discussions and debates.
We came up with one main project idea, a Primer on Open Data Ethics, aimed at making the open data community aware of (and accurately informed on) issues of importance to those working on privacy, security, and responsible data. We decided that the best way of structuring such a primer would be to focus upon certain categories – for example, anonymisation, consent, and fair use of data – and to look at the legal frameworks around these topics in different regions around the world, gathering case studies around these and developing recommendations on how the legal frameworks could be improved. This is hopefully a project that will be taken on as part of the newly launched Open Data and Privacy initiative from the Open Knowledge Foundation and Open Rights Group, and if you’d like to know more, you can join the mailing list.
It was exciting to be able to get to this stage in project planning so quickly from having arrived in the morning without any clear ideas. In cases such as this, where the discussion area is potentially so broad and ‘fluffy’, good event facilitation plays a critical role, and this was incredibly clear yesterday. Multiple ideas and projects reached prototype stage, with follow-up calls already scheduled and owners assigned through just over two hours of work in the afternoon.
The next Responsible Data Forum will be happening in Budapest on June 2-3, and until then, discussions will be continued via the mailing list, email@example.com, which is open to anyone to join. I look forward to seeing what comes out of the discussions and learning more from fellow responsible data advocates from around the world!
In eigener Sache: Wir suchen einen erfahrenen Softwareentwickler oder eine erfahrene Softwareentwicklerin für die projektbezogene Zusammenarbeit auf Honorarbasis. Weitersagen, teilen oder gleich bewerben!
Wir bieten Dir:
Die Möglichkeit, Dich aktiv in die Konzeption und Durchführung von Projekten einzubringen
Raum für eigene Ideen und eigenverantwortliches Arbeiten
Zusammenarbeit mit einem interdisziplinären Team, das sich gegenseitig unterstützt
Ein spannendes Arbeitsumfeld mit flexiblen Arbeitszeiten
Einblick in vielseitige Themen und Projekte rund um offene Daten und freies Wissen
Wichtig für uns ist:
Du möchtest die Welt ein kleines Stückchen besser machen und teilst unsere Ziele
Selbstmotiviert, mit der Fähigkeit zu priorisieren und Deadlines einzuhalten
Das Institut für Informationsmanagement Bremen (ifib) führt eine vierwöchige Online-Konsultation über die Bereitstellung Offener Daten durch die Bremische Verwaltung durch. Das Angebot soll damit um die Expertise und Wünsche der Bürger und Bürgerinnen ergänzt werden.
Das Ziel ist, die Diskrepanz zwischen Angebot und Nachfrage zu schmälern, das Institut möchte also jene Datensätze zur Verfügung stellen, die tatsächlich gewünscht werden. Die Konsultation wird dafür genutzt, das Profil der Nachfrage zu schärfen, damit entsprechend gehandelt werden kann.
Die Konsultation knüpft inhaltlich zwar an bereits veröffentliche Dokumente der Bremischen Verwaltung an, jedoch können die Teilnehmenden auch kommunizieren, welche Dokumente noch hinzugefügt werden sollten. Die Einreichungen werden nach der ersten Phase auf rechtliche Zulässigkeit und technische Machbarkeit geprüft, in der zweiten Phase wird über die Einreichungen und ihre Priorität entschieden.
Wie schon die Konsultation der EU zur Zukunft des Urheberrechts sind solche Initiativen sehr begrüßenswert und sollten auf jeden Fall genutzt werden. Es können alle Interessierten an der Konsultation teilnehmen. Deswegen: Macht mit, bis zum 06. April ist Zeit – eine Registrierung ist nicht erforderlich.
Mehr Informationen gibt es hier auf dem Weblog des Instituts von Herbert Kubicek.
Five Kenyan media professionals, including two print journalists, a TV journalist, a developer, and a graphic designer, graduated as the first class of Internews in Kenya Data Journalism.
On February 21, 2014, the fellows celebrated after completing the sixteen-week data journalism training and production that raised awareness about the misspending, corruption, and inequality that plague Kenya’s public healthcare system. During the fellowship, the participants learned how to access, scrape, analyze, and visualize data using digital tools. They also gained an appreciation of interconnections in data — with the ultimate aim of unearthing stories buried in data through investigative journalism.
“The more we worked in data journalism, the more we realized that data journalism is teamwork,” explained Dorothy Otieno, the Internews in Kenya Data Journalism Trainer who designed the fellowship to build a sense of community.
The fellows’ stories included reporting on issues such as malaria, family planning, maternal and child health, and HIV.
Health financing in Kenya
Driven by too many questions on health financing in a devolved system of government, fellow Paul Wafula, a journalist from The Standard Investigative, used his data journalism training to get answers. His story Health for Change was published as a five-part series in The Standard.
“I have come to appreciate what we have been missing in our reporting because the story I have done, if I had done it without data, my email would be full of questions,” says Wafula, who examined whether the county budgets reflected local health crises.
“We expected that under devolution, the government would respond to the basic needs of the people, and in West Pokot, they would now have the resources to deal with eye issues, or if you are in Kilifi, you could address elephantitis because that is your most pressing health issue that had been neglected by the national government. But I discovered that the county governments were falling back on the national government’s way of doing things.”
Watch this video to find out how he did the cross-platform multimedia story:
Last month, the fellows saw some of the first concrete policy results of their investigations as they shifted from data as evidence to data that reveals the root of the problem of poor healthcare in Kenya.
Holes in the national safety net program
Wafula’s second investigation focused on an emergency cash transfer safety net program for the poorest Kenyans, including orphans and vulnerable children, and revealed that legislators had changed the distribution formula for allocating Sh12.3 billion ($142 million) from an earlier model in which government poverty indicators dictated distribution to an equal division among counties in order to win the favor of wealthy constituencies.
“Being a poverty program, I knew that the poorer the place, the larger the allocation,” explained Wafula. “Here you found that a constituency in which 30 per cent of the constituency was poor was getting the same amount as a county where 80 per cent of the population was poor. I realized that if you were poor in Lamu, you were eight times more likely to get money than a poor person in Turkana.”
After the story ran, Labor cabinet secretary Kazungu Kambi revealed to Wafula that Sh600 million ($7 million) were handed out to ghost recipients. “I knew money was disappearing and was given to people who were not deserving, but I didn’t know how much or where it was going,” explained Wafula, who doesn’t believe that the government would have admitted to the corruption if it were not for his initial investigation of the distribution failure. Kambi has ordered an audit to identify and remove ghost recipients and other undeserving cases, developed new vetting committees that include community leaders to identify recipients, and enlisted a private telecommunications company, Safaricom, to distribute the funding.
Several agencies funding the project have raised questions about why the government allowed politicians to change the original distribution plan that had been approved by donors. Various stakeholders contacted the journalist and requested his raw data for further analysis.
Linking climate change and malnutrition
When the sun sets in Turkana: Hunger stakes and stripes in the North by fellow Mercy Juma, a broadcast journalist at NTV, ran as the lead news story on January 21. The twelve-minute data-driven story reveals that malnutrition in children is a growing problem in Kenya as famines become more intense and frequent.
The station phone was ringing off the hook before the story finished airing. Due to the massive reaction to the story from individuals and organizations, within hours the station established a relief fund for Turkana County, as explained in the follow-up story Famine strikes again, which brought in more donations.
Juma followed up the article with a TV story, Hunger keeps children away from school in Turkana. Since then, there have been prominent stories on the desperate famine situation in Northern Kenya daily in the Kenyan media, which has historically shown a lack of interest in the plight of the isolated and impoverished regions of northern Kenya.
Even more important for the fellows who worked on the story, the Drought Monitoring Committee asked Juma to share data from her story because they claimed they were not aware that the situation had become so desperate, though the same department had tried to charge her for access to the data when she began her investigation.
Based on Juma’s water shortage data, the Ministry of Water plans to travel to Turkana to dig more boreholes. The government, through the Ministry of Planning and Devolution, released Sh2.3 billion ($27 million) to go towards relief distribution in Turkana County, a development that Juma is following closely.
An in-depth look at contraceptives
Fellow Mercy Juma also produced a cross-platform multimedia story that links the high number of unsafe abortions in Kenya to low contraceptive use. Her ten-minute TV story Grave Choices was aired on NTV. The print version was published as a cover story in The Daily Nation. In this video, Juma explains how she looked deep into data to get insights on the issue of unsafe abortion.
A parallel story by fellow Samuel Otieno illustrated the financial drain on the country caused by fixing botched abortions rather than investing in contraceptive access.
Data journalism beyond the fellowship
Since data journalism is still in its infancy in Kenya, the fellows now have established beats that give them more freedom to pursue data-driven stories about health spending, drought, poverty, and other key governance issues when they return to their media outlets.
They presented their stories at the inaugural Online News Association Nairobi event, discussing their process with other digital journalists in Kenya and growing the data journalism community. “It was an interesting journey that we were required to develop a culture of teamwork right from the story conception phase,” said Michael Mosota, the graphic design fellow from The Nation. “I have picked up that culture of teamwork and now all the stories I work on I participate from the conception stage and I train other designers on print and online visualization tools.”
Dorothy Otieno explained the attitude shift at the media management level at The Nation. “It wasn’t me calling the editors to tell them about data journalism,” she said. “It was an editor calling me and me telling him that he could read the story in his paper on Tuesday because another editor had agreed to run it.” The audience had seen many of the stories on television and in the newspaper and expressed surprise at the policy impact that the young journalists had made in such a short time. They expressed that Kenyans want to see money allocated in the right place and health issues addressed through policies that are grounded in data.
The fellows are trailblazers in the developing world, which has so far escaped the media industry crisis that has forced many Western media outlets to explore data journalism as a strategy to become solvent in the age of free online content. “You should be commended for transforming yourselves into data journalists not to keep your jobs but rather because you are passionate about journalism and convinced that your data-driven stories can help Kenyans become more engaged citizens and influence the direction of this country,” Data Journalism Advisor Eva Constantaras told the fellows at the conclusion of the ceremony.
At the Open Knowledge Foundation, we aspire to create environments that connect diverse audiences, thus enabling a diverse groups of thinkers, makers and activists to come together and collaborate to effect change. This year, the Open Knowledge Festival is fuelled by our theory that change happens when you bring together knowledge – which informs change - tools – which enable change – and society – which effects change. Whether you’re building better, cooler tech, creating stronger ideas for the open movement or aiming to shift the gears of society, this year’s OKFestival is the place for you; a place of diverse interests and learning experiences, highlighted by this year’s emphasis on collaboration across the three streams.
In the past, Open Knowledge Foundation events have been organised around topical streams. This has enabled us to grow the movement across communities as diverse as science, transparency, development and linguistics.
However, topical streams have a tendency to further entrench topical silos. Researchers working to open up academia, for example, could almost certainly benefit from learning about the experiences of their colleagues in other fields and from teaching others about their area of expertise. Everyone could benefit from some facetime with a maker who builds cool, useful technology in their sleep! At OKFestival 2014 we want to ensure this type of knowledge sharing in order to offer everyone the chance to cross-collaborate in meaningful, impactful ways. We can all recognise that issues such as privacy, data protection and net neutrality affect all domains within the open space, and we want to ensure that these issues are addressed and worked through from a diversity of perspectives to produce truly global solutions. In order to build an impactful open coalition which can effect change around the world, we need to draw on and incorporate the experiences and knowledge of multiple local communities. Only by avoiding such topical silos and building a cross-topic network of understanding and collaboration can we inform inclusive and context-appropriate open practices.
This year, we are mixing things up to achieve all of this and more! We are promoting cross-domain collaborations and urging you to collectively work through the complex problems that keep resurfacing. The individual sessions which are being submitted and proposed as we speak are pieces of this global puzzle, and this year’s Programme Team is responsible for putting that puzzle together. It’s a tough job, and we don’t want to do it alone, so if you want to start piecing it together before you submit your proposal, then collaborating with your colleagues who work in different spaces is a sure-fire way to create an interesting and attention-worthy session. We fully encourage you to reach out to those colleagues who you believe may hold a piece of your puzzle, and we’ve set up this mailing list for you to do just that.
We understand that by mixing things up, questions are sure to arise. That is why we have put together this handy page with tips and tricks for organising your session, booted that aforementioned mailing list for session organisers to discuss their proposals and foster new collaborations, and even organised two hangouts (Friday and Monday – pick one!) to give you the opportunity to ask questions and be inspired.
Finally, we need your help. We believe that at the heart of the open movement are values such as diversity and inclusivity. We need you to make sure that your OKFestival is as diverse and inclusive as possible, because as we all know, there’s so much more to learn that way. If you know awesome people who have something key to say about sharing knowledge, building amazing tools and stirring up society to make an impact, then send them our way. If that’s you, then what are you waiting for?! Start thinking about a collaborative, interactive and powerful session for OKFestival!
The Open Knowledge Festival call for session proposals is now open!
The better the proposals, the better the festival, so we’re inviting you to put on your thinking caps and come up with revolutionarily brilliant ideas for sessions at OKFestival 2014.
We know you can do it, and we know you’ll make this festival a huge success by bringing your input to it. To help you fine-tune your ideas – and ask any burning questions that you may have – the Festival Programme Team are going to be on hand via online hangouts over the next week to give you some pointers.
In fact, we’re happy to announce three new tools to help make the magic happen:
we’ve created a public mailing list which you can use to connect and team up with other session planners, to share ideas, plans and tips for OKFestival sessions
If you can’t join us for whatever reason, don’t worry - the resultant YouTube videos will be archived so you can watch them later and you can also continue to read and contribute to the etherpad after the hangouts.
We’re looking forward to building this year’s programme with you!
Die Teilnehmer und Teilnehmerinnen haben gemeinsam an bestehenden Projekten gearbeitet und neue Ideen entworfen. Auf unserem Hackdash sind die Hacks rund um Open Data dokumentiert, wie immer mit beeindruckenden Visualisierungen.
Aus Berlin beispielsweise kommt die Anwendung „Bürger baut Stadt“ – die Seite ermöglicht es, Bauvorhaben im Kiez zu finden und sich daran zu beteiligen. Nicht etwa indem die Bürger und Bürgerinnen die Schaufel selbst in die Hand nehmen, sondern durch das Sichten von Bebauungsplänen und Beisteuern von eigenen Ideen. Auf dem Open Data Day wurde an neuen Features für Bürger baut Stadt, wie einer Timeline aller aktuellen und vergangenen Bauvorhaben, gearbeitet.
Hier ein Video von Sam Muirhead der den Open Data Day in Berlin für uns eingefangen hat:
Die Hamburger haben eine Karte gebaut, welche die beliebtesten Jogging-Strecken der Stadt kenntlich macht, indem sie die Daten aus der beliebten Sport-App „Run-Keeper“ verwendet haben. Das Ergebnis, die Karte “Wo läuft Hamburg?” kann sich sehen lassen und wäre sicher auch in anderen Städten sehr nützlich.
In Heilbronn wurden die Presseberichte der Polizei ausgewertet, um eine informative Karte mit Kriminalitätsstatistiken je nach Bezirk zu erstellen.
Das ist nur eine kleine Auswahl der vielen Projekte, die auf dem Open Data Day enstanden sind. Einige davon sind noch in der Fertigstellung oder müssen noch ausgearbeitet werden. Es braucht also mehr solcher Treffen!
Genau dieses Ziel verfolgt auch das Projekt „Code for Germany“. In den OK Labs treffen sich auf regionaler Ebene Menschen, welche Interesse, Begeisterung und Fähigkeiten für Open Data Hacking und Civic Apps mitbringen und Lust haben, gemeinsam daran zu arbeiten.
Den Schwung vom Open Data Day wollen wir nutzen, um die OK Labs ins Rollen zu bringen.
Die ersten Treffen finden bereits in den nächsten Tagen statt.
Schaut auf der Seite codefor.de nach, ob es bereits ein Lab in eurer Stadt gibt, oder tragt eure Stadt ein, denn wenn sich genügend Interessierte finden, kann ein eigenes Lab gegründet werden. Wir sind gespannt auf die nächsten Wochen und Hacks.
Wir halten Euch natürlich auf dem Laufenden, entweder in unserem Newsletter oder auf Twitter.
Werdet aktiv und setzt euch ein – für Offene Daten und mehr Transparenz!