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The 2013 Open Reader – Stories and articles inspired by OKCon2013

- March 4, 2014 in Featured Project, OKCon

facebook-cover This is a guest post from Andreas Von Gunten, founder of the Creative Commons-based publishing house Buch & Netz and editor of the brand new “The 2013 Open Read – Stories and articles inspired by OKCon2013″. We all remember very well the fantastic OKCon / Open Knowledge Conference in Geneva last year. There were so many interesting and inspiring workshops from open data enthusiasts from all over the world, and it was a great honor for me to be able to publish an eBook and an online book about the themes and issues from the OKCon 2013. Now «The 2013 Open Reader – Stories and articles inspired by OKCon2013: Open Data – Broad,Deep, Connected» is available for free until 16th March 2014. It includes blogposts, white papers, slides, journal articles and other types of texts from 45 speakers, workshop coordinators of this event and other contributors. Grab your copy now or read the content online at: The eBook and its content is licensed under a CC-BY 3.0 license, so feel free to distribute the files and the links as you like.

Ethics and risk in open development

- November 5, 2013 in OKCon, Open Development, Open Knowledge Foundation, Working Groups

_MG_5040 The following guest post is by Linda Raftree. Linda works with Plan International USA, serves as a special advisor on ICTs and M&E for the Rockefeller Foundation’s Evaluation Office and is a member of the Open Knowledge Foundation Open Development Working Group. A core theme that the Open Development track covered at September’s Open Knowledge Conference was Ethics and Risk in Open Development. There were more questions than answers in the discussions, summarized below, and the Open Development working group plans to further examine these issues over the coming year. Informed consent and opting in or out Ethics around ‘opt in’ and ‘opt out’ when working with people in communities with fewer resources, lower connectivity, and/or less of an understanding about privacy and data are tricky. Yet project implementers have a responsibility to work to the best of their ability to ensure that participants understand what will happen with their data in general, and what might happen if it is shared openly. There are some concerns around how these decisions are currently being made and by whom. Can an NGO make the decision to share or open data from/about program participants? Is it OK for an NGO to share ‘beneficiary’ data with the private sector in return for funding to help make a program ‘sustainable’? What liabilities might donors or program implementers face in the future as these issues develop? Issues related to private vs. public good need further discussion, and there is no one right answer because concepts and definitions of ‘private’ and ‘public’ data change according to context and geography. Informed participation, informed risk-taking The ‘do no harm’ principle is applicable in emergency and conflict situations, but is it realistic to apply it to activism? There is concern that organizations implementing programs that rely on newer ICTs and open data are not ensuring that activists have enough information to make an informed choice about their involvement. At the same time, assuming that activists don’t know enough to decide for themselves can come across as paternalistic. As one participant at OKCon commented, “human rights and accountability work are about changing power relations. Those threatened by power shifts are likely to respond with violence and intimidation. If you are trying to avoid all harm, you will probably not have any impact.” There is also the concept of transformative change: “things get worse before they get better. How do you include that in your prediction of what risks may be involved? There also may be a perception gap in terms of what different people consider harm to be. Whose opinion counts and are we listening? Are the right people involved in the conversations about this?” A key point is that whomever assumes the risk needs to be involved in assessing that potential risk and deciding what the actions should be — but people also need to be fully informed. With new tools coming into play all the time, can people be truly ‘informed’ and are outsiders who come in with new technologies doing a good enough job of facilitating discussions about possible implications and risk with those who will face the consequences? Are community members and activists themselves included in risk analysis, assumption testing, threat modeling and risk mitigation work? Is there a way to predict the likelihood of harm? For example, can we determine whether releasing ‘x’ data will likely lead to ‘y’ harm happening? How can participants, practitioners and program designers get better at identifying and mitigating risks? When things get scary… Even when risk analysis is conducted, it is impossible to predict or foresee every possible way that a program can go wrong during implementation. Then the question becomes what to do when you are in the middle of something that is putting people at risk or leading to extremely negative unintended consequences. Who can you call for help? What do you do when there is no mitigation possible and you need to pull the plug on an effort? Who decides that you’ve reached that point? This is not an issue that exclusively affects programs that use open data, but open data may create new risks with which practitioners, participants and activists have less experience, thus the need to examine it more closely. Participants felt that there is not enough honest discussion on this aspect. There is a pop culture of ‘admitting failure’ but admitting harm is different because there is a higher sense of liability and distress. “When I’m really scared shitless about what is happening in a project, what do I do?” asked one participant at the OK Con discussion sessions. “When I realize that opening data up has generated a huge potential risk to people who are already vulnerable, where do I go for help?” We tend to share our “cute” failures, not our really dismal ones. Academia has done some work around research ethics, informed consent, human subject research and use of Internal Review Boards (IRBs). What aspects of this can or should be applied to mobile data gathering, crowdsourcing, open data work and the like? What about when citizens are their own source of information and they voluntarily share data without a clear understanding of what happens to the data, or what the possible implications are? Do we need to think about updating and modernizing the concept of IRBs? A major issue is that many people who are conducting these kinds of data collection and sharing activities using new ICTs are unaware of research ethics and IRBs and don’t consider what they are doing to be ‘research’. How can we broaden this discussion and engage those who may not be aware of the need to integrate informed consent, risk analysis and privacy awareness into their approaches? The elephant in the room Despite our good intentions to do better planning and risk management, one big problem is donors, according to some of the OK Con participants.  Do donors require enough risk assessment and mitigation planning in their program proposal designs? Do they allow organizations enough time to develop a well-thought-out and participatory Theory of Change along with a rigorous risk assessment together with program participants? Are funding recipients required to report back on risks and how they played out? As one person put it, “talk about failure is currently more like a ‘cult of failure’ and there is no real learning from it. Systematically we have to report up the chain on money and results and all the good things happening. and no one up at the top really wants to know about the bad things. The most interesting learning doesn’t get back to the donors or permeate across practitioners. We never talk about all the work-arounds and backdoor negotiations that make development work happen. This is a serious systemic issue.” Greater transparency can actually be a deterrent to talking about some of these complexities, because “the last thing donors want is more complexity as it raises difficult questions.” Reporting upwards into government representatives in Parliament or Congress leads to continued aversion to any failures or ‘bad news’. Though funding recipients are urged to be innovative, they still need to hit numeric targets so that the international aid budget can be defended in government spaces. Thus, the message is mixed: “Make sure you are learning and recognizing failure, but please don’t put anything too serious in the final report.” There is awareness that rigid program planning doesn’t work and that we need to be adaptive, yet we are asked to “put it all into a log frame and make sure the government aid person can defend it to their superiors.” Where to from here? It was suggested that monitoring and evaluation (M&E) could be used as a tool for examining some of these issues, but M&E needs to be seen as a learning component, not only an accountability one. M&E needs to feed into the choices people are making along the way and linking it in well during program design may be one way to include a more adaptive and iterative approach. M&E should force practitioners to ask themselves the right questions as they design programs and as they assess them throughout implementation. Theory of Change might help, and an ethics-based approach could be introduced as well to raise these questions about risk and privacy and ensure that they are addressed from the start of an initiative. Practitioners have also expressed the need for additional resources to help them predict and manage possible risk: case studies, a safe space for sharing concerns during implementation, people who can help when things go pear-shaped, a menu of methodologies, a set of principles or questions to ask during program design, or even an ICT4D Implementation Hotline or a forum for questions and discussion. These ethical issues around privacy and risk are not exclusive to Open Development. Similar issues were raised last week at the Open Government Partnership Summit sessions on whistle blowing, privacy, and safeguarding civic space, especially in light of the Snowden case. They were also raised at last year’s Technology Salon on Participatory Mapping. A number of groups are looking more deeply into this area, including the Capture the Ocean Project, The Engine Room, IDRC’s research network, The Open Technology InstitutePrivacy InternationalGSMA, those working on “Big Data,” those in the Internet of Things space, and others. I’m looking forward to further discussion with the Open Development working group on all of this in the coming months, and will also be putting a little time into mapping out existing initiatives and identifying gaps when it comes to these cross-cutting ethics, power, privacy and risk issues in open development and other ICT-enabled data-heavy initiatives. Please do share information, projects, research, opinion pieces and more if you have them!

Open Legislation Working Group Relaunched at OKCon

- October 15, 2013 in Featured, OKCon, Sprint / Hackday, WG Open Legislation

Legal questions are at the heart of what openness is about, and there has always been interest at the Open Knowledge Foundation in open legislation – both in theory and in practice. Remarkable projects have been started around the world in open lobbying and open law data. This has proven ample inspiration to put open law, legal apps and legislation in the spotlight at the Open Knowledge Conference 2013 in Geneva, during a four day satellite event conducted by members of the local Open Knowledge Foundation Switzerland chapter.

Law Mining Hackdays

We convened at OKCon’s conference venue for three days, then wrapped up with a day on campus at the University of Geneva. The Monday morning workshop saw over 25 people pack into the room from diverse backgrounds: hackers, lawyers, businesspeople, academics. They took part in an introduction to mining legal data, to see our expert panel present 11 challenges, and to hear John Sheridan speak about, the open legislation portal of the United Kingdom: a remarkable project and valuable lesson in the particularities of working with legal data and making it accessible to all.
John Sheridan presentation on Vimeo

Wide public interest

Over the following three days dozens of people dropped into the specially set up OKCon hackspace to put brains, pens and computers together to make the most of the opportunity to collaborate across geographic and professional boundaries, pitching in to advance the projects during the busy conference schedule. People took part who were already running successful legal software businesses, mingling with staunch advocates of open source and open data, data scientists applying Semantic Web ideas to meta-laws, students keenly visualizing the intricate networks of legal code, activists launching new awareness initiatives. On-the-ground experiences were being shared from around the world, and a “hacky”, let’s-do-it atmosphere prevailed. In the buzz of excitement around OKCon and the ideas going around the room, three groups formed around our participants core areas of interests for the hackday, which we referred to as:
  • Case Law – working with data about legal cases, such as the proceedings of courts
  • Legal Concepts – making the laws and their workings more open, and
  • Usability of Law – making legal data more usable to the general public.
Law Mining Hackathon at OKCon 2013

Projects and initiatives

On Thursday we wrapped up the event with interesting results. It is clear that the law has much to say about openness, and that at the same time the road ahead to opening up the legal world to more analysis, visualization, and usable applications is long. While the technical understanding of laws around the world today continues to be more grounded in stories than systems, an enormous amount of work is being done to transform justice from a social artefact to a methodical science. The hackday projects are seeds of change: § Case Law as a Service (CLaaS) will make legal decisions on national and international levels available online and more accessible than ever. The team aims to create an open framework and platform architecture that allows users and a multitude of applications easy access to case law data. Concepts and demos included: Human Rights Case Laws, Case Law Linked Data, and an open search engine for the Swiss Supreme Court.
§ Open Law Search makes everyday law work easier by exposing valuable resources on the Open Web. Users can search and filter across a variety of domains especially relevant to European law. It is live and available here:
§ Open This Data! is a simple idea with an aim to help lift legal or technical restrictions on data, and get rapid community response to changes of terms of use. The Open Data Button is a new, easy, social way to raise awareness of not-so-open data.
§ Open Privacy Legislation assesses a range of government websites and rates them according to criteria from the Declaration of Parliamentary Openness. The result is this map of world legislative standards.

These projects are all open source, they need your feedback, support and championing. Please try their demos, check out the wiki pages, let us know over the mailing list if you have ideas to share with the teams. Simultaneously to the conclusion of the Law Mining Hackdays, an exciting new project was unwrapped from across the Atlantic which we couldn’t help but admire: The Constitute Project, a beautifully designed search engine and explorer of the world’s constitutions. This and many more inspirations and open data sources will guide us in future endeavours.

What happens next?

The meetings at OKCon and Law Mining Hackathon results have led to a renewed interest and several new initiatives for the Open Knowledge Foundation’s Open Legislation Working Group, where Clemens Wass has stepped up to moderate the mailing list. Discussions are re-starting after a few months of hiatus, and we are looking forward to more shared thoughts and observations on the world of legal openness. Please sign up at and use it to send in your announcements, suggestions and ideas for projects on these themes. Stay on the list to stay on top of all the above, including news of upcoming events in the months ahead. On behalf of my co-organizers, we extend our thanks to OKCon and the University of Geneva for hosting the event, to our experts and sponsors for their support, and most kindly to everyone who contributed sparks of knowledge and made the hackdays a blast of learning, collaboration and making. Let the #legalhack-ing continue!

Global events update: join the OKCon survey and get ready for OKFestival!

- October 14, 2013 in Events, Join us, OKCon, OKFest

Picture by Libertic. Dear OKCon speakers, workshop organisers, participants, partners and supporters, OKCon was a fantastic event, spanning over a total of four days, spreading out all around Geneva, attended by more than 900 people from 55 countries on site and with many more joining us online (and we’re currently counting you too). And the fun is not over: the OKCon team is still at work – for you and with you!
  • We have created a survey that we’d love everybody who attended OKCon either in person or online to fill out by October 20th – it’s very important for us all to learn from the experience and run even better and more exciting events in the future! Thank you very much for your time – we really appreciate it.
  • We are going to update the website in the next few weeks, uploading talks, slides and pictures and a community report with data and stats about this year’s OKCon – plenty of material to link to and share so we can keep talking and making noise about the topics we care about the most.
And what about the future?
  • We are already getting hands-on with OKFestival 2014 and can’t wait to welcome you all to Berlin next summer!
  • We’re working on a plan for future OKCons running all around the globe – watch this space to be the first to hear about it!

Aktivitäten und Projekte im September 2013

- October 9, 2013 in Deutschland, Featured, Hackday, Informationsfreiheit, Konferenz, Newsletter, OKCon, OKF Deutschland, Open Access, Open Knowledge Foundation

Monatlicher Bericht über Aktivitäten und Projekte der Open Knowledge Foundation Deutschland.

Die fröhlichen Gesichter von “Jugend hackt” (CC-BY)

Rückblick in den September Für einen detaillierten und persönlichen Rückblick auf die Open Knowledge Conference in Genf hat unser Team einen gemeinsamen Blogpost geschrieben. Die schönste Veranstaltung im September war “Jugend hackt”, der erste Open Data-Hackday für 12- bis 18-jährige Jugendliche aus ganz Deutschland. Wir können euch das Video und die entstandenen Projekte nur wärmstens ans Herz legen. Wer über die nächste Jugend hackt-Veranstaltung auf dem Laufenden bleiben möchte, trage sich in diesen Verteiler ein.   21. Bust Am 28. September war der International Right to Know Day. Er erinnerte uns alle daran, dass wir das Recht auf Akteneinsicht haben – doch wir müssen es auch wahrnehmen! Wie und wofür das Informationsfreiheitsgesetz genutzt werden kann, zeigen wir euch auf unserem Seminar am 16.10. Meldet euch schnell an! kann bisher nicht in allen Bundesländern genutzt werden. Das möchten wir ändern. Helft uns dabei, Adressen von weiteren Behörden der fehlenden Länder zu sammeln. Gern könnt ihr auch euren Freunden erzählen, wie sie nutzen können.   21. Bust Wahl.Daten.Helfer. Die Wahlen waren das bestimmende Thema im September – Grund genug uns die dazugehörigen Daten und ihre Zugänglichkeit anzusehen. Wahlergebnisse bilden die Grundlage der nächsten Regierung und vieler bunter Darstellungen. Bisher waren detaillierte Wahlergebnisse selten als offener Datensatz zu finden. Um das zu ändern und auf Veranstaltungen mit verfügbaren Wahldaten zu arbeiten gründeten wir mit Kölner Freunden die Aktion “Wahl.Daten.Helfer.“. Auf unserem Blog findet ihr einen Überblick über die Resultate und Fotos von den Veranstaltungen. Im Nerdhub Magazin gab es einen kurzen Bericht.   21. Bust Was wird spannend? Die Geodaten von Berlin werden Schritt für Schritt freier und Anfang nächsten Jahres wird es einen Hackday zu offenen Geodaten geben. Wir werden Termin und Ort rechtzeitig bekannt geben. Wir arbeiten fleißig am Programm für die Konferenz “Zugang gestalten!” und werden bald die Sprecher vorstellen! Kostenlos anmelden, könnt ihr euch aber schon jetzt. Außerdem findet am 18./19. November der Internationale Open Data Dialog statt. Unter dem diesjährigen Motto “THINK OPEN, THINK BUSINESS” wird ein Blick in die Zukunft gewagt und das Potential von Open Data für Unternehmen erkundet. Der wichtigste Termin des nächsten Jahres wird das Open Knowledge Festival. Dem weltweit größten Festival rund um offenes Wissen. Wir haben das unbeschreibliche Glück euch mitteilen zu können, dass ihr diesmal nicht weit fahren müsst, es wird vom 15. bis 18. Juli in Berlin stattfinden!   3sat-Beitrag “Was ist Open Data”   Schon gesehen? Als open culture Enthusiasten sind wir Unterzeichner des Berliner Appells zum Erhalt des digitalen Kulturerbes! Unterzeichnet mit! Noch vor der Wahl besuchte uns das 3sat-Magazin “nano” in unsem Büro und erstellte einen schönen Erklärbär-Beitrag zu “Was ist Open Data?”. Die Autofahrer unter euch werden von der neuen amtlichen Meldestelle für Benzinpreise gehört haben. Noch sind deren Daten nicht frei verfügbar. Zwei Open Data Aktivisten wollen das ändern. Wir sind gespannt ob es klappt. Ihr interessiert euch für Open Access? Christian Heise hat nach den OA Tagen 2013 zehn Punkte gesammelt, die für die weitere Entwicklung des Themas wichtig werden.  

Open Knowledge Conference 2013 – Rückblick

- October 9, 2013 in community, Europe, Events, Featured, Konferenz, OKCon, OKF Deutschland, Open Data, Open Knowledge Foundation, Open Science, open-government, Termine

Die Open Knowledge Conference 2013 ist vorbei. Vom 16. bis zum 18. September haben wir vom Team der Open Knowledge Foundation Deutschland in Genf Experten, Designer, Forscher, Mitarbeiter von Behörden und internationalen Organisationen, Startup-Gründer und Mitgliedern der Open Knowledge Foundation aus aller Welt getroffen. Themen der Konferenz waren neue Entwicklungen u.a. rund um Open Data, Open Science, Open Aid und Open Government. OKConBanner Das Programm war voll mit spannenden Sessions und bekannten Referenten wie Ellen Miller (Sunlight Foundation), Jay Naidoo (Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition) und Chris Taggart (Open Corporates). Für einen guten Überblick über alle Workshops, Arbeitsgruppen und Vorträge können wir das Archiv des Liveblogs und die die Dokumentation der Conference auf eventifier empfehlen. Bilder und weitere Berichte gibt es auf dem Blog der Open Knowledge Foundation. Durch die Breite und Vielfalt der Veranstaltungen war es sehr schwer einen Überblick über die einzelnen Sessions der Conference zu behalten. Wir haben deswegen hier die Erlebnisse unseres Teams kurz gesammelt: Claudia Schwegmann Meine Highlights waren ganz klar die beiden leidenschaftlichen Keynotes von Jay Naidoo und Rakesh Rajani. Jay Naidoo aus Südafrika sprach über seine Erfahrungen in mehreren Jahrzehnten als Aktivist für Arbeiterrechte und gegen Apartheid und forderte die OKCON Teilnehmer auf, eine Revolution der Ethik zu starten. Hacker und Open Data-Aktivisten müssen ihre Fähigkeiten und Werkzeuge nutzen, Gerechtigkeit und Ethik voranzutreiben.     Die Keynote von Rakesh Rajani von Twaweza aus Tanzania ging in eine ähnliche Richtung. Rakesh Rajani ist im Leitungskomittee der Open Government Partnership und seit vielen Jahren aktiv, um Transparenz und Rechenschaftslegung in Tanzania voranzutreiben. Auch er mahnte die OKCon Teilnehmer, das Ziel sozialer Gerechtigkeit im Blick zu behalten und Open Data, Visualisierungen, etc. nur als Werkzeuge zu verstehen. Um das Ziel zu erreichen, so Rakesh, ist es manchmal auch sinnvoll unperfekte Transparenz und unperfekte Open Data Initiativen zu akzeptieren und mit politischen Entscheidungsträgern kooperativ zusammen zu arbeiten.     Ein drittes Highlight aus meiner Sicht war die Vorstellung einer phantastischen Plattform von Transparency International in Georgien, auf der die Vergabe öffentlicher Aufträge komplett transparent gemacht wird. So können öffentliche Aufträgel mit Parteispenden oder Familienmitgliedern von Politikern verknüpft werden. Wunderbar. Neben diesen punktuellen Highlights war aber auch die Konferenz insgesamt ein tolles Erlebnis. Der Austausch mit Aktivisten und Weltverbesserern aus allen Teilen der Erde ist eine Vitaminkur für die manchmal mühsame Arbeit für offene Daten in Deutschland.   Helene Hahn Neben den zahlreichen spannenden Talks der OKCon habe ich mit viel Begeisterung die Sessions im Bereich open culture und openGLAM verfolgt. Gut gelungen finde ich dabei den Mix zwischen dem partizipativen Format des openGLAM Workshops am Montag, bei dem es darum ging, einen Aktionsplan für openGLAM-Aktivitäten für die Schweiz zu entwickeln, und den Talks zum Thema “Building a Cultural Commons”. An dieser Stelle möchte ich auf den Vortrag von Anna Gold von der California Polytechnic University verweisen, die über das Verhältnis zwischen Bibliotheken und open culture referiert hat.   Demnach sollten Bibliotheken weit über den Austausch von institutionell erzeugten Daten hinaus ein starkes System für offene Kultur bilden (multicommons). Dieser Ansatz lässt sich auch auf andere Gedächtnisinstitutionen gut übertragen. Marcus Dapp Ich war sehr beeindruckt von der Anzahl und Internationalittät der Teilnehmer. Die Organisatoren haben es geschafft, einen tollen MIx zwischen eindrücklichen speakers und hands-on workshops unter einen Hut zu kriegen. Besonders eindrücklich fand ich, wie Ellen Miller (CEO Sunlight Foundation) selbstkritisch dem Publikum ins Gewissen geredet hat, dass wir nicht immer nur die “liebe Community” sein sollten, denn ohne Druck werden wir über einen gewissen Punkt nicht hinauskommen.     Dazu passte auch, dass im Panel “Herausforderungen von Open Data” am Tag vor der Konferenz schon über 50 Interessierte dabei waren. Ebenso eindrücklich war, was für voraus denkende Leute in der britischen Verwaltung arbeiten – unbedingt Paul Maltby anschauen. Insgesamt ein tolles Event, grosses Dankeschön an alle OrganisatorInnen!   Martin Koll Für mich war auf der OKCon besonders der Open Science Vortrag von John Ellies vom CERN über die Suche nach dem Higgs Bosom spannend und unterhaltsam. Weiter habe ich mich sehr über die Ergebnisse des Law-Hackathon gefreut. Dort wurde u.a. einer Suche für Gesetzestexte und der “Open-this-Data-Button” entwickelt. Ich kann mich meiner Kollegin Marieke Guy nur anschließen und sagen, es war ein tolles Erlebnis und sicher nicht meine letzte OKCon! OKCon 2013   Wir hoffen ihr findet Zeit einige der spannenden Sessions anzuschauen und besucht mit uns gemeinsam die nächste OKCon.   Das nächste große Ereignis der Open Knowledge Foundation ist das Open Knowledge Festival 2014, welches wir liebevoll OKFest nennen. Lange mussten wir uns als Deutscher Teil des Netzwerk zurückhalten vor Freude nicht heraus zu posaunen, dass das OKFest 2014 vom 15. bis 18 Juli in Berlin stattfinden wird! Neben tausenden schönen Veranstaltungen werden wir dort den 10. Geburtstag des Open Knowledge Foundation feiern. Das wir diese Party mit ausrichten dürfen, ist uns eine ganz besondere Ehre. Wir freuen uns riesig und laden natürlich euch alle ein, das Event mit uns zu gestalten. Um euch einen kleinen Vorgeschmack darauf zu geben, was euch erwartet, verlinken wir hier noch einmal auf den Bericht zum letzten OKFest in Helsinki. Lasst uns gemeinsam dafür sorgen, dass das OKFest 2014 ein wahres Fest wird!  

Next Steps on “Follow the Money” – from OKCon to the Open Government Partnership Summit

- October 4, 2013 in OKCon, Open Data, Open Government Data, Public Money

The following post is from Alan Hudson, Policy Director (Transparency & Accountability) at ONE and Jonathan Gray, Director of Policy and Ideas at the Open Knowledge Foundation. Last month we announced the Open Knowledge Foundation and ONE’s plans to support and strengthen the community of activists and advocacy organisations working to enable citizens to follow the money and hold decision-makers to account for the use of public money. A few weeks ago at OKCon 2013 we had a brainstorming session with a group of leading financial transparency and open data organisations to define next steps for the collaboration. We had an excellent turnout including many of the key organisations promoting financial transparency such as Development Initiatives, Publish What You Fund, Publish What You Pay, the Revenue Watch Institute, the Sunlight Foundation, the Transparency and Accountability Initiative, and Transparency International. Participants in the session shared their experience of trying to follow the money – the challenges and opportunities – and explored how we might collectively join the dots between various efforts to promote transparency. We talked about creating better data standards so information is easier to connect and compare, sharing resources and information about the flow of public money, and how to ensure that transparency initiatives meet the needs of campaigners pushing for change. The top two priorities identified were as follows. First, mapping the ‘Follow the Money’ space to get a better sense of who is doing what to follow flows of public money from revenue to results, across different sectors and in different countries around the world. Second, doing much more to understand what citizens and civil society organisations need to help them to follow the money and collecting use-cases of how joining the transparency dots will help. We’re currently planning ‘Follow the Money’ activities around the Open Government Partnership Summit in London on 31st October to 1st November, where we will continue the conversation – in particular focusing on the needs of campaigners in developing countries. If you or your organisation are interested in joining us to Follow the Money, you can get in touch via the following form.

মুক্ত জ্ঞানের আসর থেকে

- October 1, 2013 in blog, OKCon, okfn


জ্ঞান হবে মুক্ত, তথ্য হবে সবার জন্য, থাকবে সবার হাতের নাগালে। আয়োজনের মূল বিষয় এমনই। জেনেভায় পৌঁছেই এসব বিষয়ে বাংলাদেশের প্রেক্ষাপট থেকে কী বলা যায়, তা ভাবনায় ছিল। জেনেভার সেন্টার ইন্টারন্যাশনাল ডি কনফারেন্সে (সিআইসিজি) লাল-সবুজ টি-শার্ট পরে গেলাম। ফলও পাওয়া গেল হাতেনাতে। মুক্ত জ্ঞান (ওপেন নলেজ) নিয়ে সম্মেলনের আয়োজক ওপেন নলেজ ফাউন্ডেশন নেটওয়ার্কের (ওকেএফএন) সহ-প্রতিষ্ঠাতা ও পরিচালক রাফিউস পোলক বুকে টেনে নিলেন আমাকে! বললেন, ‘আর ইউ কাম ফ্রম বাংলাদেশ?’ অভিভূত আমি মাথা নেড়ে সায় দিলাম। পোলক খুশি, বললেন, ‘তোমার টি-শার্ট দেখেই বুঝতে পেরেছি।’ বোঝা গেল পোলক বাংলাদেশের খোঁজখবর রাখেন। এর পরই ওকেএফএনের অনেকেই এসে পরিচিত হতে লাগলেন। সাম্প্রতিক সময়ে বাংলাদেশে তৈরি পোশাকশিল্পের ভয়াবহ দুর্ঘটনা বিশ্বব্যাপী আলোচিত। তাই তিন দিনের ওপেন নলেজ সম্মেলনে এ নিয়ে কথা বলার জন্য একটা প্রস্তুতি আগে থেকেই ছিল। বিভিন্ন দেশের তৈরি পোশাক শিল্পের তথ্য ইন্টারনেটে তুলে ধরতে আয়োজন করা হয় বিশেষ তথ্য প্রদর্শনীর (ডেটা এক্সপিডিশন)। সম্মেলনের পাশাপাশি চলেছে এ প্রদর্শনী। এতে আলোচনা করা হয় কীভাবে তৈরি পোশাকশিল্পের তথ্য ওয়েবে তুলে ধরা যায়, সেই প্রক্রিয়া নিয়ে।এখানে বাংলাদেশের নাম বিশেষভাবে উঠে আসে। এ নিয়ে হয় আলোচনাও। বাংলাদেশে ওকেএফএনের দূত হিসেবে তৈরি পোশাকশিল্প নিয়ে একটি উপস্থাপনা দিতে হয়। যাতে আমাদের তৈরি পোশাকশিল্পের অবস্থান সম্পর্কে বিস্তারিত তুলে ধরার চেষ্টা করি। তবে সূত্র উল্লেখ করতে গিয়ে যখন বাংলাদেশে তৈরি পোশাক প্রস্তুত ও রপ্তানিকারক সমিতির (বিজিএমইএ) ওয়েবসাইটে যাওয়া হলো, তখন দেখা গেল এই সংগঠনের সদস্য অর্থাৎ তৈরি পোশাক কারখানার মালিকদের বিস্তারিত তেমন তথ্য নেই। তথ্য না থাকায় অন্যদের সামনে বেশ বিব্রতই হতে হলো! ১৬ থেকে ১৮ সেপ্টেম্বর সুইজারল্যান্ডের জেনেভায় অনুষ্ঠিত হয়েছে এই সম্মেলন। পুরো সম্মেলনে উল্লেখযোগ্য একটা ঘটনা ছিল সুইজারল্যান্ড সরকারের নিজস্ব সব তথ্য মুক্ত করে দেওয়া। তথ্যগুলো ঠিকানার ওয়েবসাইটে আছে। যে কেউ এগুলো ব্যবহার করতে পারবেন। ওকেএফএন এবং ওকেএফএন সুইজারল্যান্ড আয়োজিত মুক্ত জ্ঞানের এ আসরের স্লোগান ছিল ‘ওপেন ডেটা—ব্রড, ডিপ কানেক্টেড’। এবারই প্রথম বাংলাদেশ এ সম্মেলনে যোগ দেয়।   নানা আয়োজনে ভরা তথ্য যাতে সবার হাতের নাগালে থাকে এবং সহজেই ব্যবহার করা যায়, এমন পদ্ধতিতে থাকতে হবে। অর্থাৎ তথ্য যিনিই যেভাবেই দেন না কেন, সেটি যেন সহজে পাওয়া যায়। এবারের আয়োজনে ওপেন ডেটা নিয়ে সেমিনার ও কর্মশালায় এ বিষয়ে জোর দেওয়া হয়। তথ্যকে সহজে ইন্টারনেটের মাধ্যমে সবার কাছে তুলে ধরার এ প্রক্রিয়ায় সাধারণ ব্যবহারকারীরা যাতে দ্রুত ও সহজে তথ্য পেতে পারে, সে বিষয় নিয়ে আলোচনা করেন ওপেন ডেটা বিশেষজ্ঞরা। আর তাই তিন দিনের পুরো আয়োজনে জনগণের জন্য কীভাবে সহজেই সরকার এবং সরকারি তথ্যগুলো সহজে ব্যবহার-উপযোগী করা যায়, তা নিয়ে ছিল কারিগরি কর্মশালা। এসবের মূল বিষয়গুলো ছিল মুক্ত বিজ্ঞান ও গবেষণা, ডিজিটাল সামাজিক উদ্ভাবন, মুক্ত শিক্ষা, মুক্ত সংস্কৃতি, ক্রিয়েটিভ কমন্স ইত্যাদি। ওকেএফএনের প্রধান নির্বাহী লাউরা জেমস জানান, মুক্ত জ্ঞানের পরিধি বাড়াতে সারা বিশ্বেরই প্রয়োজন এ কাজের বিষয়গুলোকে ছড়িয়ে দেওয়া।   অংশগ্রহণকারীদের কথা আয়োজনটা ছিল মুক্ত জ্ঞান, উন্মুক্ত সোর্সকোড নিয়ে কাজ করেন এমন ব্যবহারকারী, গবেষক এবং আন্দোলনকারীদের (অ্যাক্টিভিস্ট) জন্য। আর তাই সম্মেলনে বিশ্বের বিভিন্ন দেশের সরকারি শীর্ষ কর্মকর্তারা যেমন ছিলেন তেমনি ছিলেন গবেষক, উদ্যোক্তা, ডেটা বিশেষজ্ঞ, ইউএনডিপি, ইউনিসেফ, ইউনেসকো, বিশ্বব্যাংকসহ আন্তর্জাতিক বিভিন্ন সংগঠনের প্রতিনিধিরাও। রাফিউস পোলক বলেন, ‘বিশ্বের বিভিন্ন দেশে বর্তমানে ওপেন ডেটা বেশ শক্তিশালী। আমরা তাই বিষয়টিকে বিভিন্নভাবে সহজে তুলে ধরার চেষ্টা করেছি। তাই সম্মেলনে এ বিষয়ে একাধিক আয়োজন ছিল।’ সম্মেলনে বিশ্বের বিভিন্ন দেশের ওকেএফএন দূতরা অংশ নিয়েছেন। ওকেএফএন ব্রাজিলের দূত এভারটন জেনেলা জানান, ওকেএফএন দূতদের জন্যও এ সম্মেলনে অনেক কিছু শেখার ছিল। সৌদি আরবের যোগাযোগ ও তথ্যপ্রযুক্তি মন্ত্রণালয়ের ই-গভর্নমেন্ট আয়োজনের নলেজ ম্যানেজার আতিফ আবদুল রহমান এবং ফিনল্যান্ডের আইন মন্ত্রণালয়ের ইউনিট অব ডেমোক্রেসির প্রকল্প ব্যবস্থাপক জাক্কো কোরহোনেন সম্মেলনে সরকারি বিভিন্ন কার্যক্রমের বিষয়ে নিজেদের অভিজ্ঞতা বিনিময় করেন। ‘আমরা অনেক দিন ধরেই হংকংয়ে ওপেন ডেটা নিয়ে কাজ করছি। এতে ইতিমধ্যে সাধারণ মানুষ বিভিন্ন সেবা সহজেই পেয়ে যাচ্ছে।’ বললেন ওপেন ডেটা হংকংয়ের পরিচালক মার্ট ভ্যান ডি ভেন।   পরিবহনের তথ্য ও প্রদর্শনী সম্মেলনের নানা আয়োজনের মধ্যে উল্লেখযোগ্য ছিল ওপেন ট্রান্সপোর্ট ডেটা শীর্ষক আয়োজন। এতে নির্দিষ্ট শহরের সব তথ্য কীভাবে ওয়েবসাইটের পাশাপাশি মুঠোফোনের মানচিত্রের সাহায্যে ব্যবহার করা যায়, তা আলোচনা করা হয়। এ বিষয় নিয়ে দীর্ঘদিন কাজ করছেন ইতালির ওপেন ইনোভেশনবিষয়ক প্রকল্প ট্রেন্টোরাইজের ওপেন ডেটা প্রজেক্ট সমন্বয়ক ফ্রান্সেসা ডি চিয়ারা জানান, এ পদ্ধতিতে যদি শহরের সব ট্রান্সপোর্ট ডেটা ওয়েবে মানচিত্রে যুক্ত করা যায়, নির্দিষ্ট সে শহরের সাধারণ মানুষদের জন্য এটি দারুণ হবে। ওপেন নলেজ সম্মেলনের ছবি ও তথ্য:।   This article published The Daily Prothom-Alo (Highest circulated Bangla Newspaper):মুক্তজ্ঞানেরআসর_থেকে

মুক্ত জ্ঞানের আসর থেকে

- October 1, 2013 in blog, OKCon, okfn

Wrapping up OKCon

- September 30, 2013 in community, Events, OKCon

900 people, 55 countries, 2 full conference days plus 2 satellite days. OKCon convened our network and community in Geneva, Switzerland – at the largest Open Knowledge event. We share a common goal of knowledge being open. Across the movement (Open Science, Open Data, Open Government, Open Culture and many more), there were workshops, keynotes and participants from many walks of life.
Charcoal by Jack Berger

Charcoal by Jack Berger

We would like to thank our speakers, participants, partners, sponsors and supporters for building this fantastic event. While we continue to prepare our full Community Report, here are some highlights: Jay Naidoo, Chair of the Board of Directors and Chair of the Partnership Council of the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) was a keynote at OKCON 2013. He inspired us with a strong call to action: Jay Naidoo on Why Open?

Read more wrap-up posts from the community:

Additional resources: