open data | April 07, 2013

David Eaves: Leadership, Not Laws, Is Key To Promoting Open Government

"If for no other reason than self-interested policy and political survival," open data speaker David Eaves writes in The Toronto Star, "our political leaders—across the spectrum but in government in particular—need to think not only about rules that will foster a more open and accountable government, but the type of leadership and culture that will support it." His comments in the Op-Ed come on the heels of a massive inquiry that Federal Information Commissioner Suzanne Legault is being asked to launch regarding restrictions scientists have on speaking to the press. The red-tape and tight hold the government has over federally employed scientists has been causing a great deal of controversy. While Eaves agrees that Legault's involvement in the situation ought to be applauded, he is wary that more rules and policy adjustments can foster any meaningful change.

Eaves is a public policy entrepreneur and expert on issues surrounding open data and open government.  He argues that: "Even more than programs and regulations, an open government is the result of culture, norms and leadership. This culture is driven right from the top." Legault, he laments, may not have much of a chance in favor of loosening the strict guidelines keeping government scientists from openly dispersing their research. And, he adds, this could lead us into a massive paradox in the future—where the world we live in allows for information to be shared more readily but the individuals who can give that information remains just out of reach.

An advocate for the importance of transparency in government, Eaves is a trusted voice on the open data and open information movements. Comfortable advising clients in both the corporate world and the government, Eaves explores the benefits to opening things up, how to do so, and how we can all engage in a more open and accessible future.

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economics | April 04, 2013