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Fighting for a more open world: our CEO’s keynote speech at Open Belgium 2019

- March 4, 2019 in Open Data, Open Knowledge, Open Knowledge International, Talks

On Monday 4th March 2019, Catherine Stihler, the new chief executive of Open Knowledge International, will deliver a keynote speech – Fighting for a more open world – at the Open Belgium 2019 conference in Brussels. Read the speech below and visit the Open Belgium website or follow the hashtag to learn more about the event. Catherine Stihler, CEO of Open Knowledge International Thanks to Open Knowledge Belgium for inviting me to speak today. It is great to be you with you all in what is my fourth week in my new role as Chief Executive of Open Knowledge International. This is the first time I have been in Brussels since serving for 20 years as an MEP for Scotland. During that time, I worked on copyright reform and around openness with a key focus on intellectual property rights and freedom of expression. Digital skills and data use have always been a personal passion, and I’m excited to meet so many talented people using those skills to fight for a more open world. It is a privilege to be part of an organisation and movement that have set the global standard for genuinely free and open sharing of information. There have been many gains in recent years that have made our society more open, with experts – be they scientists, entrepreneurs or campaigners – using data for the common good. But I join OKI at a time when openness is at risk. The acceptance of basic facts is under threat, with many expert views dismissed and a culture of ‘anti-intellectualism’ from those on the extremes of politics. Facts are simply branded as ‘fake news’. The rise of the far right and the far left brings with it an authoritarian approach that could return us to a closed society. The way forward is to resuscitate the three foundations of tolerance, facts and ideas, to prevent the drift to the extremes. I want to see a fairer and open society where help harness the power of open data and unleash its potential for the public good. We at Open Knowledge International want to see enlightened societies around the world, where everyone has access to key information and the ability to use it to understand and shape their lives; where powerful institutions are held accountable; and where vital research that can help us tackle challenges – such as inequality, poverty and climate change – is available to all. To reach these goals, we need to work to raise the profile of open knowledge and instil it as an important value in the organisations and sectors we work in. In order to achieve this, we will need to change cultures, policies and business models of organisations large and small to make opening up and using information possible and desirable. This means building the capacity to understand, share, find and use data, across civil society and government. We need to create and encourage collaborations across government, business and civil society to use data to rebalance power and tackle major challenges. We need tools – technical, legal and educational – to make working with data easier and more effective. Yet, in many countries, societies are shifting in the other direction making it harder and harder to foster collaboration, discover compromises and make breakthroughs. Freedom House has recorded global declines in political rights and civil liberties for an alarming 13 consecutive years, from 2005 to 2018. Last year, CIVICUS found that nearly six in ten countries are seriously restricting people’s fundamental freedoms of association, peaceful assembly and expression. And, despite some governments releasing more data than before,  our most recent Global Open Data Index found that only 11% of the data published in 2017 was truly open, down from 16% of the data surveyed in 2013. Our fear is that these trends towards closed societies will exacerbate inequality in many countries as declining civic rights, the digital divide, ‘dirty data and restrictions on the free and open exchange of information combine in new and troubling ways. Opaque technological approaches – informed by both public and, more often, private data – are increasingly being suggested as solutions to some of the world’s toughest issues from crime prevention to healthcare provision and from managing welfare or food aid projects to policing border security, most recently evidenced in the debate around the Northern Irish border and Brexit. Yet if citizens cannot understand, trust or challenge data-driven decisions taken by governments and private organisations due to a lack of transparency or the challenge of a right of redress to the data held on individuals or businesses, then racist, sexist and xenophobic biases risk being baked into public systems – and the right to privacy will be eroded. We need to act now and ensure that legislation emphasising open values keeps pace with technological advances so that they can be harnessed in ways which protect – rather than erode – citizens’ rights. And we need people in future to be able to have an open and honest exchange of information with details, context and metadata helping to make any potential biases more transparent and rectifiable. As Wafa Ben Hassine, policy counsel for Access Now, said recently, “we need to make sure humans are kept in the loop … [to make sure] that there is oversight and accountability” of any systems using data to make decisions for public bodies. Moving on to another pressing issue, I am very concerned about the EU’s deal on copyright reform – which is due to go before the European Parliament for a vote this month – and the effects that this will have on society. The agreement will require platforms such as YouTube, Twitter or Google to take down user-generated content that could breach intellectual property and install filters to prevent people from uploading copyrighted material. That means memes, GIFs and music remixes may be taken down because the copyright does not belong to the uploader. It could also restrict the sharing of vital research and facts, allowing ‘fake news’ to spread. This is an attack on openness and will lead to a chilling effect on freedom of speech across the EU. It does not enhance citizens’ rights and could lead to Europe becoming a more closed society – restricting how we share research that could lead to medical breakthroughs or how we share facts. I know that there is a detailed session focused on copyright reform at 12:30pm in this room so please join that if you want to learn more. So what can we do about these issues? First, we are calling on all candidates in May’s European Parliament elections to go to pledge2019.eu to make a public pledge that they will oppose Article 13 of the EU’s chilling copyright reforms. This is an issue that is not going to go away, regardless of the plenary vote this spring. When the new Parliament sits, in July, the MEPs representing voters for the next five years will have an opportunity to take action. Second, in coordination with our colleagues at Mozilla and other organisations, we want tech companies like Facebook to introduce a number of improved transparency measures to safeguard against interference in the coming European elections, and I have written to Facebook’s vice-president of global affairs and my former MEP colleague Sir Nick Clegg to request more openness from the social media platform. Facebook have responded but you can add your voice to Mozilla’s ongoing campaign to keep up the pressure and make sure change happens. Third, we encourage you to visit responsibledata.io to join the Responsible Data community which works to respond to the ethical, legal, social and privacy-related challenges that come from using data in new and different ways. This community was first convened by our friends at the Engine Room – who have done great work on this issue – alongside our School of Data who were one of the founding partners. Fourth,  get everyone to use established, recognised open licences when releasing data or content. This should be a simple ask for governments and organisations across the world but our research has found that legally cumbersome custom licenses strangle innovation and the reuse of data. Fifth, when you are choosing MEP candidates to vote for in May, ask yourself: what have they done to push for openness in our country? Have they signed up to key transparency legislation? Voiced support for access to information and freedom of expression? If you’re not sure, email and ask them. We need a strong cohort of open advocates at the European Parliament to address the coming issues around privacy, transparency and data protection. At Open Knowledge International, we will help fight the good fight by continuing our work to bring together communities around the world to celebrate and prove the value of being open in the face of prevailing winds. Two days ago, with support from OKI, Open Data Day took place with hundreds of events taking place all over the world. From open mapping in South America to open science and research in Francophone Africa, grassroot organisations came out in growing numbers to share their belief in the value of open data. Our next big event is the fourth iteration of csv,conf, a community conference for data makers featuring stories about data sharing and data analysis from science, journalism, government, and open source. By popular demand, this year will see the return of the infamous comma llama. We are also very proud of the fantastic work by the Open Knowledge network teams around the globe to nurture open communities from Open Knowledge Finland’s creation of the MyData conference and movement to the investigations by journalists and developers enabled by Open Knowledge Germany and OpenCorporates’ recent release of data on 5.1 million German companies. And here in Belgium, it’s fantastic to hear about the hundreds of students who participated in Open Knowledge Belgium’s Open Summer of Code last year to create innovative open source projects as well as to be inspired by the team’s work on HackYourFuture Belgium, a coding school for refugees. To finish my speech, I want to echo Claire Melamed of the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data: “People’s voices turned into numbers have power … and data has a power to reveal the truth about people’s lives even when words and pictures have failed.” So whether you’re interested in open government, open education or any of the other fascinating topics being explored today, I hope that you connect with people who will help you fight for openness, fight for the truth and fight for the rights of people in this country and beyond.

Zero to Infinity Talks on Motivation

- September 16, 2014 in blog, Talks, zero to infinity

okfn1 What’s the best way to take control of your own life and push yourself against boundaries? How actually the brain of successful minds works? Is it like that, successful people tend to focus on growth, solving problems and self-improvement, while unsuccessful people think of their abilities as fixed assets and avoid challenges?  These were the hot topics of last ‘Zero to Infinity Talks’. The heading was ‘The Secret Pattern of Successful Minds’. Speaker Mahmudul Hasan Sohag, the Chairman of Onnorokom Group, is a successful entrepreneur who is the founder of 10 successful companies of Bangladesh. The talk was held at 04 September, 2014 in Dhaka University Microbiology auditorium. Around 150 students of different universities was present there. The talks was divided in two session. In first session, speaker delivered his lecture around 40 minutes. In next 30 minutes an interactive Q/A session was going on. At the end of the program Mr. Abdullah Al Mahmud, the editor of Zero to Infinity awarded a crest to the speaker. okfn2 The previous episodes of Zero to Infinity Talks were on various topics. Such as particle physics – ‘Infinity to Zero: A Tale of Particle Physics.’ Speaker Dr. Arshad Momen, Professor & Chairman, Department of Theoretical Physics, University of Dhaka. Dr. Arshad Momen completed his Ph. D. from Syracuse University, NY, USA, was a research fellow at Oxford University in the Theoretical Physics. Also a visiting scientist at CERN, ICTP. Lectures also held on The Response of Bangladesh and Ganges-Brahmaputra Delta to Sea Level Rise. Speaker Dr. Dipen Bhattacharya is a Research Physicist at University of California, Riverside, and Professor at Riverside Community College, USA. He was also a former research fellow, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. okfn3 ‘Zero to Infinity Talks’ is a weekly lecture series arranged by monthly science magazine ‘Zero to Infinity’. The Program is powered by ET Tech Limited. Inspired by Open knowledge Foundation. Other partners are Ezze Technology, Fortune Tech, and Society for Science Popularization, Bangladesh.

Zero to Infinity Talks on Motivation

- September 16, 2014 in blog, Talks, zero to infinity

okfn1 What’s the best way to take control of your own life and push yourself against boundaries? How actually the brain of successful minds works? Is it like that, successful people tend to focus on growth, solving problems and self-improvement, while unsuccessful people think of their abilities as fixed assets and avoid challenges?  These were the hot topics of last ‘Zero to Infinity Talks’. The heading was ‘The Secret Pattern of Successful Minds’. Speaker Mahmudul Hasan Sohag, the Chairman of Onnorokom Group, is a successful entrepreneur who is the founder of 10 successful companies of Bangladesh. The talk was held at 04 September, 2014 in Dhaka University Microbiology auditorium. Around 150 students of different universities was present there. The talks was divided in two session. In first session, speaker delivered his lecture around 40 minutes. In next 30 minutes an interactive Q/A session was going on. At the end of the program Mr. Abdullah Al Mahmud, the editor of Zero to Infinity awarded a crest to the speaker. okfn2 The previous episodes of Zero to Infinity Talks were on various topics. Such as particle physics – ‘Infinity to Zero: A Tale of Particle Physics.’ Speaker Dr. Arshad Momen, Professor & Chairman, Department of Theoretical Physics, University of Dhaka. Dr. Arshad Momen completed his Ph. D. from Syracuse University, NY, USA, was a research fellow at Oxford University in the Theoretical Physics. Also a visiting scientist at CERN, ICTP. Lectures also held on The Response of Bangladesh and Ganges-Brahmaputra Delta to Sea Level Rise. Speaker Dr. Dipen Bhattacharya is a Research Physicist at University of California, Riverside, and Professor at Riverside Community College, USA. He was also a former research fellow, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. okfn3 ‘Zero to Infinity Talks’ is a weekly lecture series arranged by monthly science magazine ‘Zero to Infinity’. The Program is powered by ET Tech Limited. Inspired by Open knowledge Foundation. Other partners are Ezze Technology, Fortune Tech, and Society for Science Popularization, Bangladesh.

Zero to Infinity Talks on Motivation

- September 16, 2014 in blog, Talks, zero to infinity

okfn1

What’s the best way to take control of your own life and push yourself against boundaries? How actually the brain of successful minds works? Is it like that, successful people tend to focus on growth, solving problems and self-improvement, while unsuccessful people think of their abilities as fixed assets and avoid challenges?  These were the hot topics of last ‘Zero to Infinity Talks’. The heading was ‘The Secret Pattern of Successful Minds’. Speaker Mahmudul Hasan Sohag, the Chairman of Onnorokom Group, is a successful entrepreneur who is the founder of 10 successful companies of Bangladesh.

The talk was held at 04 September, 2014 in Dhaka University Microbiology auditorium. Around 150 students of different universities was present there. The talks was divided in two session. In first session, speaker delivered his lecture around 40 minutes. In next 30 minutes an interactive Q/A session was going on. At the end of the program Mr. Abdullah Al Mahmud, the editor of Zero to Infinity awarded a crest to the speaker.

okfn2

The previous episodes of Zero to Infinity Talks were on various topics. Such as particle physics – ‘Infinity to Zero: A Tale of Particle Physics.’ Speaker Dr. Arshad Momen, Professor & Chairman, Department of Theoretical Physics, University of Dhaka. Dr. Arshad Momen completed his Ph. D. from Syracuse University, NY, USA, was a research fellow at Oxford University in the Theoretical Physics. Also a visiting scientist at CERN, ICTP.

Lectures also held on The Response of Bangladesh and Ganges-Brahmaputra Delta to Sea Level Rise. Speaker Dr. Dipen Bhattacharya is a Research Physicist at University of California, Riverside, and Professor at Riverside Community College, USA. He was also a former research fellow, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

okfn3

‘Zero to Infinity Talks’ is a weekly lecture series arranged by monthly science magazine ‘Zero to Infinity’. The Program is powered by ET Tech Limited. Inspired by Open knowledge Foundation. Other partners are Ezze Technology, Fortune Tech, and Society for Science Popularization, Bangladesh.

Zero to Infinity Talks on Motivation

- September 16, 2014 in blog, Talks, zero to infinity

okfn1 What’s the best way to take control of your own life and push yourself against boundaries? How actually the brain of successful minds works? Is it like that, successful people tend to focus on growth, solving problems and self-improvement, while unsuccessful people think of their abilities as fixed assets and avoid challenges?  These were the hot topics of last ‘Zero to Infinity Talks’. The heading was ‘The Secret Pattern of Successful Minds’. Speaker Mahmudul Hasan Sohag, the Chairman of Onnorokom Group, is a successful entrepreneur who is the founder of 10 successful companies of Bangladesh. The talk was held at 04 September, 2014 in Dhaka University Microbiology auditorium. Around 150 students of different universities was present there. The talks was divided in two session. In first session, speaker delivered his lecture around 40 minutes. In next 30 minutes an interactive Q/A session was going on. At the end of the program Mr. Abdullah Al Mahmud, the editor of Zero to Infinity awarded a crest to the speaker. okfn2 The previous episodes of Zero to Infinity Talks were on various topics. Such as particle physics – ‘Infinity to Zero: A Tale of Particle Physics.’ Speaker Dr. Arshad Momen, Professor & Chairman, Department of Theoretical Physics, University of Dhaka. Dr. Arshad Momen completed his Ph. D. from Syracuse University, NY, USA, was a research fellow at Oxford University in the Theoretical Physics. Also a visiting scientist at CERN, ICTP. Lectures also held on The Response of Bangladesh and Ganges-Brahmaputra Delta to Sea Level Rise. Speaker Dr. Dipen Bhattacharya is a Research Physicist at University of California, Riverside, and Professor at Riverside Community College, USA. He was also a former research fellow, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. okfn3 ‘Zero to Infinity Talks’ is a weekly lecture series arranged by monthly science magazine ‘Zero to Infinity’. The Program is powered by ET Tech Limited. Inspired by Open knowledge Foundation. Other partners are Ezze Technology, Fortune Tech, and Society for Science Popularization, Bangladesh.

Zero to Infinity Talks on Motivation

- September 16, 2014 in blog, Talks, zero to infinity

okfn1 What’s the best way to take control of your own life and push yourself against boundaries? How actually the brain of successful minds works? Is it like that, successful people tend to focus on growth, solving problems and self-improvement, while unsuccessful people think of their abilities as fixed assets and avoid challenges?  These were the hot topics of last ‘Zero to Infinity Talks’. The heading was ‘The Secret Pattern of Successful Minds’. Speaker Mahmudul Hasan Sohag, the Chairman of Onnorokom Group, is a successful entrepreneur who is the founder of 10 successful companies of Bangladesh. The talk was held at 04 September, 2014 in Dhaka University Microbiology auditorium. Around 150 students of different universities was present there. The talks was divided in two session. In first session, speaker delivered his lecture around 40 minutes. In next 30 minutes an interactive Q/A session was going on. At the end of the program Mr. Abdullah Al Mahmud, the editor of Zero to Infinity awarded a crest to the speaker. okfn2 The previous episodes of Zero to Infinity Talks were on various topics. Such as particle physics – ‘Infinity to Zero: A Tale of Particle Physics.’ Speaker Dr. Arshad Momen, Professor & Chairman, Department of Theoretical Physics, University of Dhaka. Dr. Arshad Momen completed his Ph. D. from Syracuse University, NY, USA, was a research fellow at Oxford University in the Theoretical Physics. Also a visiting scientist at CERN, ICTP. Lectures also held on The Response of Bangladesh and Ganges-Brahmaputra Delta to Sea Level Rise. Speaker Dr. Dipen Bhattacharya is a Research Physicist at University of California, Riverside, and Professor at Riverside Community College, USA. He was also a former research fellow, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. okfn3 ‘Zero to Infinity Talks’ is a weekly lecture series arranged by monthly science magazine ‘Zero to Infinity’. The Program is powered by ET Tech Limited. Inspired by Open knowledge Foundation. Other partners are Ezze Technology, Fortune Tech, and Society for Science Popularization, Bangladesh.

Planning Your Open Data Day 2014

- December 12, 2013 in Events, Featured, Join us, Meetups, News, Sprint / Hackday, Talks, training, Workshop

Open Data Day is coming! On February 22, 2014 in a timezone near you!

What is it?

Open Data Day is a global community initiative to make and spread open data. People from all around the world gather together online or in person to make things with and around open data. Anyone is invited to get involved – from curious citizens to journalists, coders to scientists, designers to data wranglers. ODD2

How does it work?

The Open Data Day events can have any kind of format / length and theme, but should all be connected by a couple of basic principles.
  • The events should happen on the same day – the next one, on February 22, 2014

  • The events should be inclusive and welcome diversity (epistemic, geographic, socio-demographic, of language and gender) – our movement is stronger when it is broader

  • Anyone can organise an event – add your name and online/ in person event to the wiki. For in person meetups: let’s try to keep it to one event per city, to maximize the local community’s strength. (Find tips on types of events in the Open Knowledge Foundation Event Handbook and in this post by our friend Michelle Thorne of Mozilla.)

  • Hacks and meetups should all involve open data

  • Show and share – each event should come up with at least one demo, brainstorm, proposal, to share online with the Open Data Day crowd (adding links to post-event materials, including pics and blog posts, to the wiki is warmly recommended). We will investigate more online spaces soon.

  • Virtual party – we aim to connect globally. Are you in a location with no in person event? Join us online via IRC, Hackpads or more (more details and links coming soon)

Some 2014 event examples? Take a look at this event organised in Washington DC at The World Bank. And did you already see the Open Data Day Japan website just launched today? IMG_1214

Call to action: Help build Open Data Day!

The Open Data Day wiki needs to be prepped and polished to rock the 2014 action plan. We’re looking for stellar volunteers to help us with this. Skills required:
  • knowledge of Wiki management
  • ability to work with WordPress
  • design skills
  • mapping skills
Willing to help the wiki sprint? Get in touch with our very own Heather Leson. We’ll get this ready as soon as possible for everyone to add their Open Data Day events! If you need some help planning your event, please do connect on the OKFN – Discuss mailing list or Open Data Day mailing list. Next week we will share some resources and planning help for local organizers. Ready to open up data? Join the party!

Network Summit

- July 19, 2013 in network, OKF, OKFN Local, Open GLAM, Open Government Data, Open Humanities, Open Science, Our Work, Talks, Working Groups

Twice-yearly the whole community of the Open Knowledge Foundation gathers together to share with, learn from and support one another. The Summer Summit 2013 took place in Cambridge (UK) last week (10th-14th July), with staff updates on the Thursday and network representatives joining on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday. It was so inspiring to hear what our network has been doing to further the Open movement recently and over the last 6 months! We heard from Local Groups about how these groups have been effecting change in all our locations around the world:
  • Alberto for OKFN Spain has been promoting open transparency in budgets, including their own, and using the power of events to gather people;
  • OKFN Taiwan, represented by TH (who we believe travelled the furthest to be with us in person), has also been investing in many large events, including one event for developers and others attracting 2,000 people! They have also been supporting local and central governments on open data regulation;
  • Charalampos of OKFN Greece highlighted the recent support of their works by Neelie Kroes, and took us through crashmap.okfn.gr which maps accidents using data from police departments and census data along with crowd-sourced data;
  • Pierre at OKF France reported that they have been helping redesign the national open data portal, as well as developing an open data portal for children and young people which kids which may align well with School of Data;
  • OpenData.ch, the Swiss Chapter of the Open Knowledge Foundation of course is hosting OKCon in September, and Hannes updated on exciting developments here. He also reported on work to lobby and support government by developing visualisations of budget proposals, developing a federal-level open data strategy and policy, and promoting a national open data portal. Thanks to their efforts, a new law was accepted on open weather data, with geodata next up;
  • David updated on OKFN Australia where there is support from government to further the strong mandate for open scientific data. The newspaper the Age has been a firm ally, making data available for expenses and submissions to political parties, and a project to map Melbourne bicycle routes was very successful;
  • Francesca of OKF Italy has been working alongside Open Streetmap and Wikimedia Italy, as well as with parliament on the Open Transport manifesto. They have also been opening up ecological data, from “spaghetti open data”;
  • OKFN Netherlands was represented by Kersti, who reported a shared sense of strength in open government data and open development, as well as in the movement Open for Change (where OKCon is listed as the top ‘Open Development Event’!);
  • Dennis, for OKF Ireland, has been pushing the local events and gathering high-profile ‘rock stars’ of the open data world as well as senior government representatives. He has also presented on open data in parliament;
  • OKF Scotland is a growing grassroots community, as conveyed by Ewan – an Open Data Day asserted the importance of connecting to established grassroots communities who are already doing interesting things with data. They are also working closely with government to release data and organised local hackdays with children and young people;
  • Bill joined us remotely to update on OKF Hong Kong, where regular meet-ups and hackdays are providing a great platform for people to gather around open knowledge. Although not able to join us in person (like Everton / Tom from OKF Brasil) Bill was keen to report that OKF Hong Kong will be represented at OKCon!
  • OKF Austria‘s update was given by Walter, who informed us that transport data is now properly openly licensed and that several local instances of the international Working Groups have been set up. Which segues nicely, as…
It wasn’t just during the planned sessions where community-building and networking occurred: despite the scorching 30°C (86°F) heat – somewhat warmer than the Winter Summit in January! – people made the most of lunchtimes and breaks to share ideas and plan. We also heard from Working Groups about how crossing international boundaries is making a difference to Open for all of us:
  • Open Sustainability was represented by Jack who explained Cleanweb (an initiative to use clean technologies for good, engaging with ESPA to open up data) and has set up @opensusty on Twitter as a communication route for anyone wanting to connect;
  • Ben, newly involved with Open Development, explained about the group’s plans to make IATI‘s released data useful, and bringing together existing initiatives to create a data revolution;
  • Open Science, represented by Ross, has been very active with lobbying and events, with the mailing list constantly buzzing with discussions on open data, licensing and convincing others;
  • Daniel explained that Open Government Data, being one of the largest groups with 924 mailing list members, has provided an important role as being at the heart of the Open Government Data movement, as a place for people to go to for questions and – hopefully! – answers. Daniel will be stepping down, so get in touch if you would like to help lead this group; in the meantime, the Steering Committee will be helping support the group;
  • OpenGLAM has also developed an Advisory Board, said Joris. There is good global reach for Open GLAM advocacy, and people are meeting every month. Documents, case studies, slide-decks and debates are available to new joiners to get started, and the Austrian instance of the Working Group demonstrated the process works. (Joris has now sadly left Open Knowledge Foundation ‘Central’, but we are delighted he will stay on as volunteer Coordinator for this group!);
  • Public Domain, with Primavera reporting, has been working on Public Domain Calculators in partnership with the government. PD Remix launched in France in May, and Culture de l’Europe will present at OKCon;
  • Primavera also updated on Open Design, where future planning has taken priority. The Open Design Definition has been a highlight but funding would help further activity and there are plans to seek this proactively. Chuff, the Open Knowledge Foundation Mascot, was pleased to get a mention…
It should be noted that these activities and updates are brief highlights only – distilling the activities of our groups into one or two sentences each is very much unrepresentative of the amount of things we could talk about here! We also made time for socialising at the Summit, and much fun was had with Scrabble, playing frisbee and punting – not to mention celebrating Nigel‘s birthday! As an aside, I was going to state that “we only need an Antarctic representative and the Open Knowledge Foundation will have all seven continents in our network”; however, it appears there is no definitive number of continents or agreed land-masses! An amalgamated list is Africa (Africa/Middle East and North Africa), America (Central/North/South), Antarctica, Australia (Australia/Oceania) and Eurasia (Europe/Asia)… but, however you wish to define the global divisions (and isn’t it pleasing that it’s difficult to do so?), Antarctica is the only area the Open Knowledge Foundation is not represented! Are you reading this from an outstation at the South Pole, or know someone there, and want to contribute to open knowledge? Apply to become an Ambassador and be the person to cement the Open Knowledge Foundation as the fully global demonstration of the Open movement. If you’re in an unrepresented area – geographic or topic – we’d love to hear from you, and if you’re in a represented area we’d love to put you in touch with others. Get Involved and connect with the Open Knowledge Foundation Network – and maybe we’ll see you at the next Summit! Images 1, 4-7 and front page: Velichka Dimitrova. Images 2 and 3: Marieke Guy, CC-BY-NC-ND

Meeting the Latin American open knowledge community

- July 1, 2013 in Featured, Open Data, Talks

Over the past couple of weeks, our resident Data Diva Michael Bauer, and International Community Manager Zara Rahman have been in Chile, Argentina and Uruguay. Their mission was twofold; raise awareness of the impending launch of the Escuela de Datos, our School of Data project in Spanish, and try to find and meet with as many of the movers and shakers in the open knowledge movement in the three capital cities. Happily, it was both a success, and an incredible experience! P6251132

Santiago, Chile

Thanks to Open Knowledge Foundation friend and ally Miguel Paz, their visit here was peppered with activities. Miguel is a ICFJ Knight Fellow and has had a great impact on open data in Chile: he founded both the Hacks Hackers Santiago chapter and Poderopedia, a platform showing who’s who in politics and business in Chile. On Monday 17th, their trip kicked off with a School of Data workshop, looking at data scraping from government websites, organised as a Hacks Hackers meetup and hosted by the University of Diego Portales in the capital city.

School of Data Chile

Next up was Data Tuesday, an event where various guests were invited to give lightning talks about their projects; guests included Julio Costa, the head of Open StreetMap Chile, Bárbara Poblete, the founder of Tweets4Science, and Michael and Zara talking about, respectively, the School of Data, and the Open Knowledge Foundation’s international network.

Interest among participants in setting up a Local Group of the Open Knowledge Foundation was high, and we hope to see this consolidated soon; the number of projects and interesting initiatives they came across was inspiring.

Aside from the events, they had the chance to meet up with a number of people and organisations working on relevant projects; Ciudadano Inteligente (Intelligent Citizen), who host the network Desarrollando América Latina (Developing Latin America) who are just getting ready to launch their 2013 event schedule, now including 13 countries in the region, as well as a range of other great projects; Derechos Digitales, working on digital rights in the region; Chile Transparente who, together with Junar, have produced the portal InfoDatos; and ONG Civico, a growing NGO aiming at improving citizens access’ to technology.

Buenos Aires, Argentina

The beauty of the global Hacks/Hackers network came into play again here, and big thanks go to Mariano Blejman, Mariana Berru, and Yamila Garcia for taking the time out on a public holiday to organise a School of Data workshop, followed by a Open Data Maker Night (photos here). The projects that came out ranged from organising a network to find lost pets, to seeing if open data initiatives in cities overlapped with city cycling schemes.

Zara also had the chance to talk about our Local Groups network with a group of participants; for those who are interested in keeping updated on the status of OKF in Buenos Aires, please sign up on the discussion list.

The range of people they met in Buenos Aires was huge; hackerspace Garage Lab welcomed them for an afternoon; local TI chapter Poder Ciudadano, took the time out to explain their open data projects, and they went to visit the beautiful new offices/innovation lab of the Open Government initiative from the City of Buenos Aires, who are doing a pioneering initiative on open data in the city (and using CKAN!); team members from Wingu, an organisation focusing on educating civil society on technology,  a couple of members of the team from La Nacion Data, world leaders in data driven journalism, and who went on later that day to win a well-deserved Data Journalism Award. Congratulations!

AbreLATAM – Montevideo, Uruguay

And then; the event we’d all been waiting for. Day 1 saw the unconference agenda being decided, with a session about growing the international communities, and the decision taken to set up a wiki to try and gather open data initiatives and projects in the region. The wiki will be hosted at Desarrollando América Latina; join their Google Group to keep updated on its progress.

AbreLATAM further marked the launch of the Spanish version of the School of Data, Escuela de Datos, with our collaborators from SocialTIC in Mexico. The initiative was received enthusiastically and we’re looking forward to see the network grow.

Day 2 continued with more in-depth discussion and skillshares ranging from strategic advocacy to more technical parts. After the two intense days all of us left with big smiles and new ideas in our minds. Big congratulations to the team at DATA for organising the event and bringing together such a great group of people from all around the region!

The warmth and welcoming attitudes shown to both during their visit was truly appreciated; we hope to be collaborating more closely with you all in the future!

 

Get to know Open Knowledge

- June 6, 2013 in Talks

“If you want Open to win, you’ve got to make it more attractive to the average person,” said Rufus Pollock @rufuspollock in his May 24, 2013 talk at Code for America. Rufus discussed not only the Open Source tools and Open Data initiatives for which Open Knowledge are well known in America, but our larger mission. This includes technical projects like the rejuvenation of Data.gov with our open source CKAN Project, as well as cultural projects like the Public Domain Review.
Rufus is a Shuttleworth Foundation Fellow, an Associate of the Centre for Intellectual Property and Information Law at the University of Cambridge and a Director of Open Knowledge which he co-founded in 2004. — bio via CfA. For another introduction to Open Knowledge, see this slideset delivered March 25, 2013 by Jonathan Gray, @jwyg at the Wikimedia Foundation: http://www.slideshare.net/jwyg/building-the-global-digital-commons This post was shared @OKFNUS in advance of the 6/6/13 meetup hosted by PLOS: