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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.

Mary Wollstonecraft’s Adventures in Scandinavia

- May 30, 2018 in denmark, french revolution, Mary Wollstonecraft, norway, scandinavia, Sweden, travel

Letters Written during a Short Residence in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark, the book produced after the radical philosopher Mary Wollstonecraft took her infant daughter in 1795 on an expedition through Scandinavia in search of stolen treasure.

Mary Wollstonecraft’s Adventures in Scandinavia

- May 30, 2018 in denmark, french revolution, Mary Wollstonecraft, norway, scandinavia, Sweden, travel

Letters Written during a Short Residence in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark, the book produced after the radical philosopher Mary Wollstonecraft took her infant daughter in 1795 on an expedition through Scandinavia in search of stolen treasure.

Swedish House-Gymnastics (1913)

- April 5, 2018 in exercise, gymnastics, Sweden

These wonderful photographs, which make such innovative use of multiple exposure, are from a 1913 book by Theodor Bergquist, Director of the Swedish Gymnastic Institute in the Bavarian spa town of Bad Wörishofen.

New Open Knowledge Network chapters launched in Japan and Sweden

- September 21, 2016 in Featured, japan, network, News, Sweden

This month sees the launch of two new Chapters at the Open Knowledge Network, a chapter for Japan and a chapter for Sweden. Chapters are the Open Knowledge Network’s most developed form, which have legal independence from the organisation and are affiliated by a Memorandum of Understanding. For a full list of our current chapters, see here and to learn more about their structure visit the network guidelines. Open Knowledge Japan is one of our oldest groups. Started in 2012, the group has done a lot of work promoting open data use in government. The group is also leading the open data day effort in Japan, with more than 60 local events around the country. This is our first chapter in East Asia. Open Knowledge Sweden, the chapter in the land which implemented the first Freedom of Information legislation in 1766, is still active in promoting FOI through their platform Fragastaten, and is very active in hacks for heritage realms. They are currently part of EU funded project: Clarity- Open EGovernment Services.They have just launched OKawards which is going to be the first award in the region that provides recognition to Open Knowledge contributors from the public and private sector. They are our second chapter in the Nordic countries, joining their neighbours in Finland.   The Open Knowledge International global network now includes groups in over 40 countries, from Scotland to Cameroon, China to the Czech Republic. Eleven of these groups has now affiliated as chapters. This network of practice of dedicated civic activists, openness specialists, and data diggers are at the heart of the Open Knowledge International mission, and at the forefront of the movement for Open. “The launch of these new chapters emphasizes the importance of openness in East Asia and the Nordic countries,” said Pavel Richter, Open Knowledge CEO. “These chapters are a manifestation of continuous engagement by volunteers around the world to work towards more open and accountable societies. We are looking forward to following their work and supporting their efforts in the future.”
japan

On of the many events in Japan during open data day. Credit: okfn.jp

The Representative Director of Open Knowledge Japan, Masahiko Shoji, added, Open Knowledge Japan has been leading open data utilization and open knowledge movement in Japan in cooperation with 21 experts and ten companies.  We are delighted to become the official Chapter of Open Knowledge International and share this joy with the active open data communities in Japan.  We would like to move forward with other Asian Open Knowledge communities and the fellows around the world.”  
Members of OK SE in open data day. Credit: se.okfn.org

Members of OK SE in open data day. Credit: se.okfn.org

Similarly, the Chairman of Open Knowledge Sweden, Serdar Temiz, said, “We are happy to be a closer part of changemakers network in Open Knowledge. To be a chapter at Open Knowledge Network is a great pleasure and a privilege. We are happy to be a part of an organization that is at the forefront of the Open Knowledge movement. It is very motivating for us that within 2 years of our initial period, OKI also recognizes our efforts in the OK community and we could become one of the few official Chapters”

Även gamla Ryanairkontrakt är hemliga

- December 20, 2015 in biljetter, datajournalistik, flygplats, flygsubventioner, OpenSpending, priser, Ryanair, Stop Secret Contracts, StopSecretContracts, subventioner, Sverige, Sweden, Västerås

Ryanairs affärsavtal med Västerås flygplats är hemliga.1 Det gäller även avtal som är 14 år gamla, visar en ny dom.2 Undertecknad begärde i somras ut Ryanairs tidigare affärsavtal med Västerås flygplats från år 2001 och 2005. Flygplatsen ville endast lämna ut handlingarna med vissa uppgifter maskade, till exempel vilka avgifter Ryanair skulle betala till flygplatsen. Undertecknad överklagade flygplatsens beslut till kammarrätten i Stockholm. I förra veckan kom domen. Kammarrätten avslår överklagandet. Västerås flygplats menar att ett offentliggörande av villkoren i Ryanairs affärsavtal med flygplatsen från 2001 och 2005 riskerar att ”röja andemeningen och inriktningen avseende nya avtalsvillkor”. Kammarrätten ”saknar anledning att betvivla riktigheten i detta”.

Noter

1. Se tidigare inlägg ”Flygplatserna har hemliga avtal med Ryanair”. 2. ”Kammarrätten i Stockholm Mål nr 6511-15”.

Kalmars flygplats subventionerade varje flygbiljett med minst 80 kronor

- September 22, 2015 in biljetter, datajournalistik, flygplats, flygsubventioner, okfn, OKFNSE, Open Data, Open Spending, OpenSpending, priser, Ryanair, Stop Secret Contracts, StopSecretContracts, subventioner, Sverige, Sweden

Ryanairs kontrakt med Västerås flygplats är hemliga. En uppskattning visar att skattebetalarna i kommunen subventionerar varje flygbiljett med cirka 132 kronor.1 Flygplatserna som trafikeras av Ryanair har i regel flera affärsavtal med flygbolaget rörande avgifter för att använda flygplatsen, tanka planen och så vidare. I många fall skrivs även marknadsföringsavtal med Ryanair där flygplatsen får betala för att bland annat omnämnas på Ryanairs webbsida.2 När Ryanair trafikerade Kalmars kommunägda flygplats gick lokaltidningarna ut med uppgiften att flygplatsen fick betala 80 kronor per passagerare för marknadsföring.3 Uppgiften går emellertid inte att verifiera eftersom även dessa avtal är hemliga.

Noter

1. Se tidigare inlägg ”Så mycket kostar flygbiljetten egentligen”. 2. Se till exempel: ”Påstått stöd till Västerås flygplats och Ryanair Ltd”. EU-kommissionen 3. Se: ”Bojkottar Ryanair”. Östra Småland. ”Besvikelse efter Ryanairs besked”. Barometern.

Beauty behind the scenes

- August 5, 2015 in automation, broken links, dcat, Deployments, Extensions, Featured, harvester, öppnadata.se, responsive design, Sweden

Good things can often go unnoticed, especially if they’re not immediately visible. Last month the government of Sweden, through Vinnova, released a revamped version of their open data portal, Öppnadata.se. The portal still runs on CKAN, the open data management system. It even has the same visual feeling but the principles behind the portal are completely different. The main idea behind the new version of Öppnadata.se is automation. Open Knowledge teamed up with the Swedish company Metasolutions to build and deliver an automated open data portal.

Responsive design

In modern web development, one aspect of website automation called responsive design has become very popular. With this technique the website automatically adjusts the presentation depending on the screen size. That is, it knows how best to present the content given different screen sizes. Öppnadata.se got a slight facelift in terms of tweaks to its appearance, but the big news on that front is that it now has a responsive design. The portal looks different if you access it on mobile phones or if you visit it on desktops, but the content is still the same. These changes were contributed to CKAN. They are now a part of the CKAN core web application as of version 2.3. This means everyone can now have responsive data portals as long as they use a recent version of CKAN.
New Öppnadata.se

New Öppnadata.se

Old Öppnadata.se

Old Öppnadata.se

Data catalogs

Perhaps the biggest innovation of Öppnadata.se is how the automation process works for adding new datasets to the catalog. Normally with CKAN, data publishers log in and create or update their datasets on the CKAN site. CKAN has for a long time also supported something called harvesting, where an instance of CKAN goes out and fetches new datasets and makes them available. That’s a form of automation, but it’s dependent on specific software being used or special harvesters for each source. So harvesting from one CKAN instance to another is simple. Harvesting from a specific geospatial data source is simple. Automatically harvesting from something you don’t know and doesn’t exist yet is hard. That’s the reality which Öppnadata.se faces. Only a minority of public organisations and municipalities in Sweden publish open data at the moment. So a decision hasn’t been made by a majority of the public entities for what software or solution will be used to publish open data. To tackle this problem, Öppnadata.se relies on an open standard from the World Wide Web Consortium called DCAT (Data Catalog Vocabulary). The open standard describes how to publish a list of datasets and it allows Swedish public bodies to pick whatever solution they like to publish datasets, as long as one of its outputs conforms with DCAT. Öppnadata.se actually uses a DCAT application profile which was specially created for Sweden by Metasolutions and defines in more detail what to expect, for example that Öppnadata.se expects to find dataset classifications according the Eurovoc classification system. Thanks to this effort significant improvements have been made to CKAN’s support for RDF and DCAT. They include application profiles (like the Swedish one) for harvesting and exposing DCAT metadata in different formats. So a CKAN instance can now automatically harvest datasets from a range of DCAT sources, which is exactly what Öppnadata.se does. For Öppnadata.se, the CKAN support also makes it easy for Swedish public bodies who use CKAN to automatically expose their datasets correctly so that they can be automatically harvested by Öppnadata.se. For more information have a look at the CKAN DCAT extension documentation.

Dead or alive

The Web is decentralised and always changing. A link to a webpage that worked yesterday might not work today because the page was moved. When automatically adding external links, for example, links to resources for a dataset, you run into the risk of adding links to resources that no longer exist. To counter that Öppnadata.se uses a CKAN extension called Dead or alive. It may not be the best name, but that’s what it does. It checks if a link is dead or alive. The checking itself is performed by an external service called deadoralive. The extension just serves a set of links that the external service decides to check to see if some links are alive. In this way dead links are automatically marked as broken and system administrators of Öppnadata.se can find problematic public bodies and notify them that they need to update their DCAT catalog (this is not automatic because nobody likes spam). These are only the automation highlights of the new Öppnadata.se. Other changes were made that have little to do with automation but are still not immediately visible, so a lot of Öppnadata.se’s beauty happens behind the scenes. That’s also the case for other open data portals. You might just visit your open data portal to get some open data, but you might not realise the amount of effort and coordination it takes to get that data to you. Image of Swedish flag by Allie_Caulfield on Flickr (cc-by)