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Building a Nordic Anti-Corruption Data Ecosystem

- June 13, 2019 in network, OK Sweden, Sweden

Open Knowledge Sweden (OKSE) jointly with Transparency International Latvia and Transparency International Lithuania continues to promote usage of open data for combating corruption in the Baltic and Nordic countries.   Stockholm, 10 June 2019 – On May 15, 2019 Open Knowledge Sweden (OKSE) jointly with Transparency International Latvia and Transparency International Lithuania started the activities for a new project aimed to empower Nordic and Baltic stakeholders in helping to disclose anti-corruption-related datasets.  The work is  funded by the Nordic Council of Ministers office in Latvia within a project “Building a Nordic Anti-Corruption Data Ecosystem”. The three implementing partners aim to build constructive relationships with national officials and promote the usage of open data for anti-corruption purposes. The following activities will run until autumn 2019:
  • Explorative online surveys to map demand for anti-corruption-related data in 7 Nordic and Baltic countries (Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Norway);
  • Identification of a basic inventory of anti-corruption-related data systems (i.e. those related to individuals and organizations, public resources, laws and regulations) which could be employed for further anti-corruption action at the national and regional level;
  • Workshop with anti-corruption and data-oriented NGOs from the region to develop a shared advocacy strategy for the release of public sector datasets which can be useful to fight political corruption – namely those related to lobbying, MPs’ interest and asset disclosure, political financing, public procurement and beneficial ownership.
Whereas in a previous project the partner organisations looked at the supply-side of anti-corruption data, this project will focus on the demand-side and the emerging impact of Open Government Data (OGD) policies in Nordic and Baltic countries. The project also aims to contribute to the strengthening of NGOs cooperation on common anti-corruption related priority areas. More information

Nominations open for Swedish Open Knowledge Awards 2018

- January 22, 2019 in network, OK awards, OK Sweden, Open Data, Sweden

This blog has been reposted from the OK Sweden blog. Open Knowledge Sweden is aiming to create a tradition to acknowledge people and organizations to foster better, open, democratic, inclusive and innovative society. Open Knowledge should be a mainstream concept and a natural part of our everyday lives. That is why we are organising the 2018 edition of the Swedish Open Knowledge Awards (OKA), the first award event on open knowledge in Sweden, covering categories such as transparency, entrepreneurship, open science, ministry/municipality and business initiative. Each category in which organizations, companies and authorities are tested in, will annually be determining the most exemplary initiative working in favour of open data, open knowledge and transparency. The award winners will set an example of how businesses and organizations have best used open knowledge for innovative solutions, how authorities have been more transparent with the use of open knowledge and how public figures have used their influence for change in that direction, both cultural and legal. Open Knowledge Sweden has held previous OK Awards in collaboration with KTH, Wikimedia, and Dataföreningen. This year, we expect to have more nominations and guests at our event with support from the Open Knowledge community. As OK Sweden, we believe that OKA is providing recognition to change makers that push for innovation as well as transparent and accountable democracy. It also raises the bar every year for all open knowledge stakeholders in Sweden.

OK awards jury

The jury consists of experts and researchers in open knowledge related domains: Britta Duve Hansen is an IT strategist and solution architect at the City of Lund. With backgrounds in mathematics and geographic IT, her core focus today is on Business Intelligence, digitalisation, and Open Data. She believes in transparency, collaboration, and common standards as the key drivers of digital transformation in the public sector. Björn Söderlund is head of development at the Swedish municipality of Lidingö stad and one of the last year’s award winners. Björn has been engaged many years at the local, regional and national level in finding ways of publishing more open data from the public sector to stimulate openness and innovation. He is also involved in national work with the aspects and challenges of information security issues as the municipality’s CISO. Lidingö stad is still one of the public organizations that has published the most number of datasets and believes it remains one of the important future challenges for information use, reuse and development. On the reasons why we should do better he believes that the simple answer is to turn the question around- “Why shouldn’t we?” Halit Koşmaz is the chairman of Open Knowledge Sweden. He is a Master of Science engineer in electro-physics from KTH Royal Institute of Technology. Halit is very pragmatic problem-solver in any context with innovation and heavy wide competence. Halit has extensive experience from master and expert roles within the Telecom, public authorities, financial companies, renewable energy and energy efficiency solutions. Halit has worked in roles as President, Chief Operating Officer, IT and system architect, development engineer, project manager and business developer. He has extensive knowledge in the field of IT security, identity management, payment and credit solutions, PKI, mobile services, as well as ECM/document management. Halit has developed even hardware (laser) for fiber optic network, energy harvesting solution for the roof and nanomaterial for insulation and air-filter. Halit has extensive experience working abroad where he has worked with major international and companies. Halit is a devoted soldier to child pornography on the internet. He has fought in all fronts to keep the internet free from CSEM. Halit has always advocated open data in the public sector, convinced that only open data confers strong democracy. Jessica Bäck is responsible for Sales and Partner Relations at the Internet Foundation in Sweden. She is a board member of the government initiative Hack for Sweden. Jessica is the founder of Teknikklubben, a meeting place for tech-interested transgender kids and a runner-up for the Unionen HBTQ-award 2018. At the Internet Foundation, Jessica has published a series of Internet Guides that have headlined national newspapers and been translated into several languages.

Nomination process

This year, in order to have better judgement of year 2019, Open Knowledge Awards for 2018 will be held on February 27th, 2019. You are welcome to nominate an individual, group, or organization for each category from now on. The schedule of the nomination process as below:
  • Public Nomination: 22 December 2018 to 28 January 2019
  • Nominations Announcement: February 1, 2019
  • Finalist Announcement:  February 15
  • Price Ceremony: February 27, 2019
To nominate entities/people and for more information about the OK Awards for 2018 event: http://okawards.org/nominate-2018. You can read more about the OK Awards on our website www.okawards.org, or read about the previous year’s winners here. Feel free to contact us regarding press, sponsorship or volunteer contribution. Best regards,
Erhan Bayram Project Leader E-mail: erhan@okfn.se
Phone: +46(0)720212408

Open data and the fight against corruption in Latvia, Sweden and Finland

- December 7, 2018 in financial transparency, finland, Latvia, network, OK Finland, OK Sweden, Open Data, Sweden

This blog has been crossposted from the Open Knowledge Sweden blog.
Transparency International Latvia, in collaboration with Open Knowledge Sweden and Open Knowledge Finland, has published a new study on open data and anti-corruption policies in Latvia, Sweden and Finland, showing that governments in the three countries could do more to leverage the potential of open data for anti-corruption policies and public accountability.  The study comprises an overview report summarising the overall findings and identifying opportunities for knowledge transfer and regional cooperation as well as specific reports assessing to what extent governments in Latvia, Sweden and Finland have implemented internationally agreed-upon open data principles as part of their anti-corruption regime, providing recommendations for further improvement at the national level.                                 The study is the outcome of a project funded by the Nordic Council of Ministers. The aim of the project was to gain a better understanding of how Nordic and Baltic countries are performing in terms of integration of anti-corruption and open data agendas, in order to identify opportunities for knowledge transfer and promote further Nordic cooperation in this field. The study assessed whether 10 key anti-corruption datasets in Latvia, Finland and Sweden are in line with international open data standards. The datasets considered in the frame of the study are:
  1. Lobbying register
  2. Company register
  3. Beneficial ownership register
  4. Public officials’ directories
  5. Government Budget
  6. Government spending
  7. Public procurement register
  8. Political Financing register
  9. Parliament’s Voting Records
  10. Land Register
Within this respect, Sweden has made only 3 of 10 key anti-corruption datasets available online and fully in line with open data standards, whereas Finland have achieved to make 8 of these datasets available online, six of which are fully in line with open data standards.  As for Latvia, 5 of them have been found to be available and in line with the standards. When it comes to scoring these three countries with regard to anti-corruption datasets, in Sweden, the situation is more problematic compared to other two countries. It has the lowest score, 5.3 out of 9, while Finland and Latvia have scored 6.1 and 6.0, respectively. Similarly, there are some signals that transparency in Sweden has been worsening in recent years despite its long tradition of efficiency and transparency in the public administration, good governance and rule of law as well as being in the top-10 of the Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index (CPI) for several years. The problem in Sweden stems from the fact that the government has had to cope with the high decentralization of the Swedish public administration, which seems to have resulted in little awareness of open data policies and practices and their potential for anti-corruption among public officials. Thus, engaging the new agency for digitalisation, Agency for Digital Government (DIGG), and all other authorities involved in open data could be a solution to develop a centralised, simple, and shared open data policy. Sweden should also take legal measures to formally enshrine open data principles in PSI (Public Sector Information) law such as requiring that all publicly released information be made ‘open by default’ and under an ‘open license’. The situation in Finland and Latvia is more promising. In Finland, a vibrant tech-oriented civil society in the country has played a key role in promoting initiatives for the application of open data for public integrity in a number of areas, including lobbying and transparency of government resources. As for Latvia,in recent years, it has made considerable progress in implementing open data policies, and the government has actively sought to release data for increasing public accountability in a number of areas such as public procurement and state-owned enterprises. However, the report finds that much of this data is still not available in open, machine-readable formats – making it difficult for users to download and operate with the data. Overall, in all three countries it seems that there has been little integration of open data in the agenda of anti-corruption authorities, especially with regard to capacity building. Trainings, awareness-raising and guidelines have been implemented for both open data and anti-corruption; nonetheless, these themes seem not to be interlinked within the public sector. The report also emphasizes the lack of government-funded studies and thematic reviews on the use of open data in fighting corruption. This applies both to the national and regional level. On the other hand, there is also a considerable potential for cooperation among Nordic-Baltic countries in the use of open data for public integrity, both in terms of knowledge transfer and implementation of common policies. While Nordic countries are among the most technologically advanced in the world and have shown the way with regard to government openness and trust in public institutions, the Baltic countries are among the fastest-growing economies in Europe, with a great potential for digital innovation and development of open data tools. Such cooperation among the three states would be easier in the presence of networks of “tech-oriented” civil society organisations and technology associations, as well as the framework of cooperation with authorities with the common goal of promoting and developing innovation strategies and tools based in open data.

OK Sweden collaborates with the Internet Foundation (.SE)…and other updates

- May 16, 2017 in network, OK Sweden

This blog post is part of our on-going Network series featuring updates from chapters across theOpen Knowledge Network and was written by the Open Knowledge Sweden Team.  We have a new collaboration with the Internet Foundation (.SE) in Sweden, which is an independent organisation which promotes a positive development of the internet for the benefit of the public in Sweden. Open Knowledge Sweden, KTH Mentorspace and other organisations will collaborate under the umbrella of Open Knowledge and Innovation Lab (OKINLAB), and as an initial support, we will be using .SE’s Co-Office in Stockholm We are hosting a researcher, Xiaowei Chen who received funding from Alexander Humboldt Foundation in Germany to study and compare the Swedish Freedom of Information (FOI) to Germany’s “Informationsfreiheitsgesetz” (Freedom of Information). He is also receiving support from Open Knowledge Foundation Germany for his research. Read more about the Xiaowei’s project here. Open Knowledge Sweden’s chairman, Serdar Tamiz was invited to be a researcher panel discussant on Open Science and Open Access organised by Swedish National Library and Karlstad University. Jakob Harnesk, Library Director of Karlstad University moderated the discussions where Nadja Neumann, Fil.dr, Karlstads University and Erika Sandlund, Docent, Karlstads University were other discussants. Erika Sandlund could not attend in person due to illness so she sent over her notes/answers via email.

Open Access Meeting- Researcher Panel

In addition to other local researchers and librarians, there were two international guests:
  1. Kathleen Fitzpatrick, Associate Executive Director & Director of Scholarly Communication at the Modern Language Association, New York, USA. She is also the co-founder of the digital scholarly network MediaCommons and presented new ways of publishing
  2. Vincent Bonnet, Director vid the European Bureau of Library, Information and Documentation Associations (EBLIDA), Haag, Holland. Vincent presented how libraries and librarians are changing.
It may appear awfully early, but Asmen Gul, project manager of OKAwards has already started work towards OKAwards 2017 which will be held close to the end of 2017. Asmen is already working with professional Event Manager Erika Szentmartoni for OKAwards 2017. More updates to follow soon.  As mentioned in our previous update, we are part of the pan-EU CLARITY Project. Together with other 6 partners, we presented our findings to the EU Committee in Brussels as a first-year review. Project partners received very constructive feedback to improve their output and progress for the second half of the project. Project partners will have another meeting on 10th of May in London to coordinate the second half of the project.

Fredrik Sjöberg, Executive Director of OK Sweden

In our previous update, we shared a not so secret with you about OK Sweden having its first Executive Director, Fredrik Sjöberg. He works at the digital agency Creuna and is into everything that’s open and digital. He also likes to find digital opportunities that help create a better and more open society and has created communicative solutions using open source for over 10 years. He is an avid advocate of open data and wants more people to see the benefits of sharing. Frederik has already introduced new structures and strategies for the OK Sweden and after the initial planning period, you will hear more from our new Executive Director. Also, we are about having a new election for the board and the chairmanship position. The Meeting is scheduled to be on 13th of May. Board members who have fulfilled membership obligations will have the right to elect the new board. Follow Open Knowledge Sweden twitter page [@OKFSE ] for more updates.  

OK Sweden’s first ever EU Project (CLARITY), Open Knowledge Awards – and other quarter 4 updates

- March 13, 2017 in community, OK Sweden, Open Knowledge

This blog post is part of our on-going Network series featuring updates from chapters across the Open Knowledge Network and was written by the Open Knowledge Sweden team.

 

2016 was a productive year for Open Knowledge Sweden! We are a team that is passionate about open knowledge, transparency, democracy and value creation. This post documents some of the projects and events we were engaged in for the last quarter of 2016.

EU CLARITY Project

OK Sweden is part of the pan-EU CLARITY Project which is in its first year of a two-year term. The project will support the European Member States in their pursuit for greater trust, transparency, and efficiency within their open eGovernment initiatives and highlight best practices within this field.

We have worked hard as a team in this project and occupied leadership roles on many CLARITY related tasks. For example, Serdar Temiz served as Project Manager for the CLARITY packages OK Sweden was responsible for, while Toni Mickiewicz was adjudged the most active person on the project at OK Sweden.

Focus group discussion in Stockholm

We have produced several deliverables and conducted many activities as listed below for the CLARITY Project:

  • We have conducted a stakeholder analysis within the open eGovernment ecosystem
  • We have analysed the key drivers in the uptake of open eGovernment services in Europe
  • We have conducted a needs assessment of societal, public sector and industry and market needs when it comes to the uptake of open eGovernment services
  • We held a Development Sprint Event in Amsterdam in December 2016, where four teams developed blueprints for 4 new open eGoverment services.
  • We have held two foresight focus groups with stakeholders in Sweden and Spain and will host the third group in The Netherlands in March. Results will be in a forthcoming briefing paper on “Considerations for the take-up of open eGovernment services in Europe” – due in March 2017

Please read and don’t hesitate to give us feedback! You also follow us on our website, as well as social media – twitter and LinkedIn group. If you are interested in joining our contact list, drop us a line.

Open Knowledge Awards in Sweden!

OK Sweden had its first ever Open Knowledge Awards to acknowledge people and organisations that are working towards open Knowledge in Sweden! We collaborated with KTH- Royal Institute of Technologies Industrial Marketing and Entrepreneurship Division and was sponsored by Wikimedia.  The award ceremony was held at KTH ITM Schools Indek Building and was managed by Asmen Gul – the OKAwards and Open Data Index Project Manager of OK Sweden. We plan to have the awards every year!

The awards ceremony received several positive feedbacks and a wide press coverage. We can easily say that it was our most attention-grabbing event of the year.

Open Knowledge Awards team and some winners

 You can find more information regarding the award, jury, categories, and winners from here.

FragaStaden.se (AskTheState) – our first Freedom of Information (FoI) Website

Our first FOI website: FragaStaden.se (AskTheState), managed by Mattias Axel was launched in May.  The project is very important to us because we launched it at the anniversary of the FOI Act, which dates back to 1766 – the first freedom of information legislation in the modern sense which is called the Principle of Public Access (offentlighetsprincipen).

We presented the platform at the Umeå Hacker Space and took part in the sestercentennial – 250th! – Anniversary for the adoption of legal guarantees for freedom of information and a free press in Sweden which was run by the Swedish National Library.

An English translation of the Anders Chydenius FOI text is available here because the Swedish parliament abolished censorship of books and newspapers and required authorities to provide public access to all official records with the passing of ”His Majesty’s Gracious Ordinance Relating to Freedom of Writing. Articles on the same topic by other contributors are also available.

Sweden’s Biggest Internet event

OK Sweden in partnership with Engaging Privacy, ISOC-SE, OKSE, DFRI, and IIS prepared a two-day program [21st and 22nd of November] on privacy and integrity tracks at Sweden’s Biggest Internet event which was organised by The Internet Foundation In Sweden. The keynote speaker of the event was Edward Snowden. Although he could not be present in Sweden in person, he was able to deliver his speech – thanks to digital technologies!

In one of the parallel tracks, the Chairman of OK Sweden – Serdar Temiz, gave a presentation on Data Privacy, Corporates, and States.

Also, OK Sweden member and FragaStaten’s Project Manager, Mattias Axell facilitated workshops for better privacy practices in business and public organisations on both days of the event. You can read more about the schedule of the event here.

Other Events and Activities 

We have two new project members: Malin Isaksson and Julia Navrén. Both will work for the Undervaka.se – A Digital Quality Index for Press Freedom and Freedom of Information Act. Funded by the Internet Fund (internetfonden), the project will seek to build relationships and networks and infrastructure for media organisations and the public in Sweden, to make it easier to view the quality of the principle of public access. You can follow the progress of this project via here.

We also created training materials for Open Data with CC license with the help of Wikimedia Sweden, Asmen Gul and Valentin Brutaru run the project.  We are glad to have these materials available for our future educational activities.

Secret Announcement!

As part of our mission to re-work OK Sweden to become a new and improved organisation, we now have our first ever Executive Director, Fredrik Sjöberg, who brings with him many years of project and team management skills. We strongly believe OK Sweden will become more effective and productive with Fredrik’s management and contributions to the team. Our press release regarding this change will follow soon. Until then, it is a secret between you and us. OK?

We are working on great projects for 2017 so stay tuned!