New Report: Avoiding data use silos – How governments can simplify the open licensing landscape

Danny Lämmerhirt - December 14, 2017 in licence, Open Data, Policy, research

Licence proliferation continues to be a major challenge for open data. When licensors decide to create custom licences instead of using standard open licences, it creates a number of problems. Users of open data may find it difficult and cumbersome to understand all legal arrangements. More importantly though, legal uncertainties and compatibility issues with many different licenses can have chilling effects on the reuse of data. This can create ‘data use silos’, a situation where users are legally allowed to only combine some data with one another, as most data would be legally impossible to use under the same terms. This counteracts efforts such as the European Digital Single Market strategy, prevents the free flow of (public sector) information and impedes the growth of data economies. Standardised licences can smoothen this process by clearly stating usage rights. Our latest report  ‘Avoiding data use silos – How governments can simplify the open licensing landscape’ explains why reusable standard licences, or putting the data in the public domain are the best options for governments. While the report has a focus on government, many of the recommendations can also apply to public sector bodies as well as publishers of works more broadly. The lack of centralised coordination within governments is a key driver of licence proliferation. Different phases along the licensing process influence government choices what open licences to apply – including clearance of copyright, policy development, and the development and application of individual licences. Our report also outlines how governments can harmonise the decision-making around open licences and ensure their compatibility. We aim to provide the ground for a renewed discussion around what good open licensing means – and inspire follow-up research on specific blockages of open licensing. We propose following best practices and recommendations for governments who wish to make their public sector information as reusable as possible:
  1. Publish clear notices that concisely inform users about their rights to reuse, combine and distribute information, in case data is exempt from copyright or similar rights.
  2. Align licence policies via inter-ministerial committees and collaborations with representative bodies for lower administrative levels. Consider appointing an agency overseeing and reviewing licensing decisions.
  3. Precisely define reusable standard licences in your policy tools. Clearly define a small number of highly compatible legal solutions. We recommend putting data into the public domain using Creative Commons Zero, or applying a standard open license like Creative Commons BY 4.0.
  4. If you still opt to use custom licences, carefully verify if provisions cause incompatibilities with other licences. Add compatibility statements explicitly naming the licences and licence versions compatible with a custom licence, and keep the licence text short, simple, and reader-friendly.

Custom licences used across a sample of 20 governments

Requiem for an Internet Dream

Rufus Pollock - December 12, 2017 in Internet, open, Open/Closed

The dream of the Internet is dying. Killed by its children. We have barely noticed its demise and done even less to save it. It was a dream of openness, of unprecedented technological and social freedom to connect and innovate. Whilst expressed in technology, it was a dream that was, in essence, political and social. A dream of equality of opportunity, of equality of standing, and of liberty. A world where anyone could connect and almost everyone did. No-one controlled or owned the Internet; no one person or group decided who got on it or who didn’t. It was open to all. But that dream is dying. Whilst the Internet will continue in its literal, physical sense, its spirit is disappearing. In its place, we are getting a technological infrastructure dominated by a handful of platforms which are proprietary, centralized and monopolized. Slowly, subtly, we no longer directly access the Net. Instead, we live within the cocoons created by the Internet’s biggest children. No longer do you go online: you go on Facebook or you Google something. In those cocoons we seem happy, endlessly-scrolling through our carefully curated feeds, barely, if ever, needing to venture beyond those safe blue walls to the Net beyond. And if not on Facebook, we’ll be on Google, our friendly guide to the overwhelming, unruly hinterlands of the untamed Net. Like Facebook, Google is helpfully ensuring that we need never leave, that everything is right there on its pages. They are hoovering up more and more websites into the vastness that is the Googleplex. Chopping them up and giving them back to us in the bite-sized morsels we need. Soon we will never need to go elsewhere, not even to Wikipedia, because Google will have helpfully integrated whatever it was we needed; the only things left will be the advertisers who have something to sell (and who Google need to pay them). As the famous Microsoft mantra went: embrace, extend, extinguish. Facebook, Google, Apple and the like have done this beautifully, aided by our transition back from the browser to the walled garden of mobile. And this achievement is all the more ironic for its unintended nature; if questioned, Facebook and Google would honestly protest their innocence. Let me be clear, this is not a requiem for some half-warm libertarianism. The Internet is not a new domain, and it must play by laws and jurisdictions of the states in which it lives. I am no subscriber to independence declarations or visions of brave new worlds. What I mourn is something both smaller and bigger. The disappearance of something rare and special: proof that digital was different, that platforms at a planetary scale could be open, and that from that magical combination of tech and openness something special flowed. Not only speech and freedom of speech, but also innovation and creativity in all its wondrous fecundity and generous, organized chaos on a scale previously unimagined. And we must understand that the death of this dream was not inevitable. It is why I hesitate to use the word dream. Dreams always fade in the morning; we always wake up. This was not so much a dream as possibility. A delicate one, and a rare one. After all, the history of technology and innovation is full of proprietary platforms and exclusive control — of domination by the one or the few. The Internet was different. It was like language: available to all, almost as a birthright. And in the intoxicating rush of discovery we neglected to realise how rare it was. What a strange and wonderful set of circumstances had caused its birth: massive, far-sighted government investment at DARPA, an incubation in an open-oriented academia, maturity before anyone realised its commercial importance, and its lucky escape in the 1990s from control by the likes of AOL or MSN. And then, as the web took off, it was free, so clearly, unarguably, and powerfully valuable for its openness that none could directly touch it. The Internet’s power was not a result of technology but of a social and political choice. The choice of openness. The fact that every single major specification of how the Internet worked was open and free for anyone to use. That production grade implementations of those specifications were available as open software — thanks to government support. That a rich Internet culture grew that acknowledged and valued that openness, along with the bottom-up, informal innovation that went with it. We must see this, because even if it is too late to save the Internet dream, we can use our grief to inspire a renewed commitment to the openness that was its essence, to open information and open platforms. And so, even as we take off our hats to watch the Internet pass in all its funereal splendour, in our hearts we can have hope that its dream will live again.

OKBR e organizações se unem para combater ‘vale tudo’ nas eleições 2018

Elza Maria Albuquerque - December 12, 2017 in Carta Não Vale Tudo, Destaque, Eleições 2018, transparência

A Open Knowledge Brasil, em parceria com o AppCívico, Instituto Update e outras organizações da sociedade civil lançaram a carta #NãoValeTudo. A iniciativa é um esforço coletivo para discutir o que vale e o que não vale no uso da tecnologia para fins eleitorais. O grupo pretende buscar amparo do Tribunal Superior Eleitoral (TSE) para assegurar a aplicação de regras já existentes sobre o tema e a regulamentação de outras que aperfeiçoem o controle. Além disso, candidatos e partidos também vão ser procurados. “Nós, que assinamos esta carta, acreditamos que a tecnologia pode melhorar a democracia. Por isso, nos comprometemos a fazer um uso ético dela, seguindo os princípios desta carta nas eleições de 2018. Nossa expectativa é que esse esforço coletivo sirva para trazer a tona esse debate e influenciar a sociedade brasileira, para garantir que as eleições ocorram de forma justa, transparente e democrática”, diz trecho da carta. Assista ao vídeo da carta #NãoValeTudo:
Flattr this!

Open Data Day – 3 March 2018: you are invited!

Oscar Montiel - December 11, 2017 in odd2018, Open Data Day

2018 is almost here, and that means that on Saturday 3 March, we’ll be celebrating Open Data Day (ODD). As always, this is a bottom-up initiative, where we expect to gain momentum and highlight the different uses that Open Data can have in different contexts. We know that some people in the community are already planning their events, so we invite everyone to register their events on the website by filling up this form (you can also find it at the Open Data Day website). If you want to get an idea of what Open Data Day is like, have a look at this summary of Open Data Day 2017 events. We are updating the content, since we’re defining the topics that we’ll support next year, but in the meantime, if you have any leads on fulfilling the mini-grants for ODD events, please let us know. As we update the contents, we also need to translate them, so if you have some spare time and knowledge of a language additional to English, you can collaborate on translating! Last but not least, we want to hear from you, so we will host a group call at the beginning of the year to hear about the learnings and experiences of groups that organised Open Data Day in 2017. If you want to hear more about it, you can follow the mailing list or follow our social channels, where we’ll keep you updated.   

Czech Open Data Challenge: a showcase of amazing transparency apps

Michaela Rybičková - December 7, 2017 in competition, czech republic, network, network updates, OK Czech, Open Data, Open Knowledge Network

This blog post was written by the Czech Republic Open Knowledge team as part of our blog series of Open Knowledge Network updates.  In the fifth edition of Czech open data challenge, interested parties from the ranks of the public, non-profit organizations and companies were invited to submit applications that use or generate open data. Applications developed between November 2016 and October 2017 could compete. This year, the competition was dominated by transparency apps. Many of the 24 contestants focused on improving the efficiency of public spending or parliamentary watchdog. Others chose to provide convenient access to information about pharmacies or publishing stats about lawyers. In this blog you can find more information about some of this year’s winners. The winner, Hlídač státu (, State watchdog), is a strong tool of control over public spending. It connects a registry of contracts with data about donations to political parties and presents it in a comprehensible manner. Michal Blaha, author of Hlídač státu, said that he takes his victory as a commitment. „Open data are making the public administration more democratic and transparent, as they balance the relationship between citizen and officer.” he explained. The second place was awarded to the civic initiative for their Inventura hlasování (Inventory of voting in the Chamber of Deputies in 2013-2017, It is a user-friendly way to compare one’s opinions with voting of individual MPs. More than 400.000 people used the app ahead of the latest election. The third place was taken by Databáze prázdných domů (Database of Empty Houses,, which aggregates information about abandoned and decrepit buildings in Czechia. The project aims to save remarkable houses and find new uses for vacant real estate.

Screenshot of, visualising vacant real estate in Brno, Czech Republic

For the first time in the contest history, the Student prize was awarded to a middle school, Střední škola zemědělská a potravinářská Klatovy. A group of five youngsters led by an enthusiastic teacher spent one weekend at school to create interesting visualisations over real time data of the Czech parliamentary election: The Otakar Motejl Fund award for projects which increase government transparency, was given to CityVizor (, a joint effort of Ministry of Finance and an alliance of cities. It is a unique example of the government cooperating with local administrations and helps to present city budgets and spending to citizens and allows the municipalities to share IT expenses. A special award went to the Czech Open Street Maps community, for their tireless effort of providing detailed and up-to-date map data. Being openly available, they are an invaluable resource for many successful businesses as well as civic initiatives. Another positive sign is, that political parties themselves start to leverage the power of open data and civic apps. The political party STAN for example built a mobile app which tracks votes and attendance of their MPs. The winners were awarded with prize money (up to 20 000 CZK), security software or trainings in online marketing.

Ημερίδα: Εργαλεία εντοπισμού – επιβεβαίωσης βίντεο που δημοσιεύονται στα κοινωνικά μέσα: Η πλατφόρμα του InVID

Χριστίνα Καρυπίδου - December 7, 2017 in Featured, Featured @en, News, Εκδηλώσεις, ημερίδα, Νέα, ψευδείς ειδήσεις

Τα Εργαστήρια Εφαρμογών Πληροφορικής στα Μ.Μ.Ε. & Ηλεκτρονικών Μ.Μ.Ε. του Τμήματος Δημοσιογραφίας και Μ.Μ.Ε. του Αριστοτέλειου Πανεπιστημίου Θεσσαλονίκης, σε συνεργασία με το Ίδρυμα Ανοικτής Γνώσης Ελλάδας (Open Knowledge Greece), το Εργαστήριο Γνώσης, Πολυμέσων και Κοινωνικών Δικτύων του Ινστιτούτου Τεχνολογιών Πληροφορικής και Επικοινωνιών Ε.Κ.Ε.Τ.Α. -Συντονιστής έργου InVID- και την Ένωση Συντακτών Ημερησίων Εφημερίδων Μακεδονίας-Θράκης (Ε.Σ.Η.Ε.Μ.-Θ.), διοργανώνουν […]

Kittens and Cats: A First Reader (1911) — Cats and Captions before the Internet Age

Adam Green - December 6, 2017 in cat memes, cats, earliest cat meme, internet cats, memes, parties, party, vintage memes

If this delightful book is anything to go by then taking photos of cats and brandishing them with an amusing caption, was far from being a phenomenon born with the internet.

Frictionless Data Case Study: OpenML

Joaquin Vanschoren - December 6, 2017 in case study, Data Package, Frictionless Data, Open Source

The Frictionless Data project is about making it effortless to transport high quality data among different tools and platforms for further analysis. We are doing this by developing a set of software, specifications, and best practices for publishing data. The heart of Frictionless Data is the Data Package specification, a containerization format for any kind of data based on existing practices for publishing open-source software. The Frictionless Data  case study series highlights projects and organisations who are working with Frictionless Data specifications and software in interesting and innovative ways. OpenML is one such organization. This case study has been made possible by OpenML’s Heidi Seibold and Joaquin Vanschoren, the authors of this blog.   OpenML is an online platform and service for machine learning, whose goal is to make machine learning and data analysis simple, accessible, collaborative and open with an optimal division of labour between computers and humans. People can upload and share data sets and questions (prediction tasks) on OpenML that they then collaboratively solve using machine learning algorithms. We first heard about the Frictionless Data project through School of Data. One of the OpenML core members is also involved in School of Data and used Frictionless Data’s data packages in one of the open data workshops from School of Data Switzerland. We offer open source tools to download data into your favourite machine learning environments and work with it. You can then upload your results back onto the platform so that others can learn from you. If you have data, you can use OpenML to get insights on what machine learning method works well to answer your question. Machine Learners can use OpenML to find interesting data sets and questions that are relevant for others and also for machine learning research (e.g. learning how algorithms behave on different types of data sets).

Image of data set list on OpenML

OpenML currently works with tabular data in Attribute Relation File Format (ARFF) accompanied by metadata in an xml or json file. It is actually very similar to Frictionless Data’s tabular data package specification, but with ARFF instead of csv. 

Image of a data set overview on openML

In the coming months, we are looking to adopt Frictionless Data specifications to improve user friendliness on OpenML. We hope to make it possible for users to upload and connect datasets in data packages format. This will be a great shift because it would enable people to easily build and share machine learning models trained on any dataset in the frictionless data ecosystem. We firmly believe that if data packages become the go-to specification for sharing data in scientific communities, accessibility to data that’s currently ‘hidden’ in data platforms and university libraries will improve vastly, and are keen to adopt and use the specification on OpenML in the coming months. Interested in contributing to OpenML’s quest to adopt the data package specification as an import and export option for data on the OpenML platform? Start here.

Belo Horizonte recebe Hackacity em dezembro

Elza Maria Albuquerque - December 6, 2017 in Dados Abertos, Hackacity, Hackacity Belo Horizonte

Belo Horizonte. Foto: Pixabay / Creative Commons CC0.

Entre os dias 8 e 10 de dezembro, a capital de Minas Gerais vai receber o Hackacity Belo Horizonte, no edifício Rainha da Sucata, sede do projeto HUB Minas Digital. O evento é uma maratona de desenvolvimento de soluções tecnológicas para promover melhorias para a cidade. O objetivo é analisar bancos de dados públicos e promover sua utilização no desenvolvimento de soluções que tenham impacto positivo na gestão das cidades. A iniciativa é mundial, com edições na Espanha, Croácia, Portugal, Brasil e Alemanha. A competição conta com a realização da Secretaria de Estado de Desenvolvimento Econômico, Ciência, Tecnologia e Ensino Superior de Minas Gerais (SEDECTES), em parceria com a cidade portuguesa de Porto, e coordenada por Cláudio Nascimento, vice-presidente da Rede, por um time de técnicos, além da equipe do Hub Minas Digital.

Soluções em conjunto

Os participantes são incentivados a criar aplicações que busquem resolver desafios vividos pelos cidadãos. As equipes, após 24 horas de programação, apresentam suas soluções para uma banca avaliadora, formada por jurados de diversas áreas. As equipes vão ser premiadas e seus projetos, após testados, vão ser utilizados pela gestão pública. Lucas Parreiras, analista de sistemas há 11 anos com foco em bancos de dados, é um dos participantes do Hackacity. Ele formou uma equipe para participar de evento. “Tem um tempo que venho acompanhando alguns dados abertos e iniciativas que trabalham com tais dados, como o caso do projeto Serenata de Amor. Por esse motivo, tive interesse de participar do ODI regional junto com a OKBR. Quando vi a notícia que iria ter Hackacity em Belo Horizonte, pensei: preciso participar e conhecer melhor os dados da minha cidade e tentar produzir algum aplicativo que possa beneficiar a população. Assim, convidei dois amigos para montar uma equipe e participar do evento. O principal objetivo é conhecer melhor os dados da nossa cidade e conhecer outras pessoas com interesse em dados abertos e que estejam ligados à tecnologia da informação”, afirma. Lucas diz que é possível que entrem mais duas pessoas no grupo durante o evento (segundo o regulamento, cada equipe deverá ter cinco integrantes). Ele conta que já estão se preparando para o dia. “Um dos integrantes é o João André, que é engenheiro mecânico recém-formado. O outro é Samuel, que é analista de sistemas com foco em desenvolvimento de aplicativos para dispositivos móveis. Além de procurarmos informações sobre o Hackacity, também analisamos alguns datasets disponibilizados pela Prefeitura de Belo Horizonte para podermos vislumbrar alguma solução”, detalha. Com informações do portal SIMI.
Flattr this!

Entidades pedem mais transparência ao TSE na prestação de contas dos partidos

Elza Maria Albuquerque - December 6, 2017 in Destaque, Petição, transparência

Na segunda-feira (4/12), a Open Knowledge Brasil (OKBR) e mais outras 18 entidades entregaram uma petição ao presidente do Tribunal Superior Eleitoral (TSE), ministro Gilmar Mendes, em Brasília (DF). O principal objetivo do documento é que o TSE adote medidas de transparência na prestação de contas eleitorais e partidárias. Natália Mazotte, codiretora da Open Knowledge Brasil (OKBR), e Neide de Sordi, representante da OKBR no GT da Sociedade Civil junto à OGP, representaram a OKBR no encontro. “Hoje já temos capacidade tecnológica para que o processo de fiscalização das contas partidárias possa ter um apoio mais direto da sociedade civil. Mas precisamos primeiro que esses dados estejam disponíveis em formato aberto e de maneira detalhada”, ressaltou Natália. “É de interesse da sociedade e do próprio TSE, que tem uma alta demanda de recursos humanos para a análise dessas contas, que essas informações sejam disponibilizadas.” A solicitação de uma melhor fiscalização do financiamento público de campanha passou a ser ainda mais relevante com a recente aprovação pelo Congresso Nacional do fundo de financiamento de campanhas para 2018 da ordem de R$ 1,7 bilhão em recursos públicos. A esse valor, deve ser somado quase um R$ 1 bilhão do já existente fundo partidário. Ao todo, serão R$ 2,7 bilhões destinados aos partidos, o que exige uma fiscalização mais eficiente, segundo essas organizações. Atualmente, a prestação de contas é feita apenas uma vez por ano. Falta padronização e atualização das informações. Em 2017, o TSE criou uma força-tarefa para analisar as contas de 2012, que estão prestes a prescreverem. No último ano, houve um avanço em relação à prestação das contas dos candidatos. Esses gastos eleitorais passaram a ser informados no prazo de 72 horas. Essa é a proposta para as contas partidárias. “A OKBR, desde o início de 2017, vem colaborando com o TSE em ações para a abertura de dados. Na reunião, a parceria foi mencionada pelo Secretário Geral do TSE, Dr. Luciano Fuck, que agradeceu a colaboração até então recebida”, disse Neide.

Conheça algumas das propostas

> Padronização entre contas partidárias e eleitorais A padronização entre as prestações de contas partidárias e as eleitorais, incluindo, por exemplo, o detalhamento de todas as categorias de receitas e despesas. Publicação dos nomes das pessoas físicas e jurídicas envolvidas nas movimentações financeiras, assim como a divulgação do CPF ou do CNPJ. > Atualização Permanente atualização das contas dos partidos, como ocorre desde o ano passado com as contas eleitorais. O objetivo dessa medida é que as movimentações financeiras dos partidos sejam informadas e divulgadas o mais breve possível. > Bases de dados Todas as bases de dados relacionadas às contas partidárias e eleitorais precisam estar disponíveis, inclusive por meio da internet, para facilitar e incentivar o acesso e a consulta pela população. “De acordo com os preceitos da OGP, governos abertos e transparentes mantêm publicadas e atualizadas todas suas bases de dados que não implicam riscos objetivos à segurança individual ou coletiva”, segundo trecho da petição. Quem assinou a petição Movimento Transparência Partidária
Associação Brasileira de Jornalismo Investigativo (Abraji)
Associação Contas Abertas
Bancada Ativista
Fundação Cidadão Inteligente
Instituto Construção
Instituto Ethos de Empresas e Responsabilidade Social
Instituto Não Aceito Corrupção (INAC)
Instituto Update
Laboratório Brasileiro de Cultura Digital
Movimento Acredito
Movimento Agora!
Movimento de Combate à Corrupção Eleitoral (MCCE)
Movimento Quero Prévias
Open Knowledge Brasil – Rede pelo Conhecimento Livre
Rede de Ação Política pela Sustentabilidade (RAPS)
Transparência Brasil
Transparência Internacional
Com informações do G1.
Flattr this!