big data | June 26, 2013

Toward Transparent Government: David Eaves On The Open Data Charter

"As an open data advocate," speaker David Eaves writes, "the real story out of the G8 is that the G8 countries now agree that, in addition to advancing transparency and innovation, open data can help drive public policy." He adds: "And that is quite a dramatic shift from where we were just five years ago." The open data movement saw two major advancements transpire last week. First, a group of the world's most powerful leaders drafted The Open Data Charter at the G8 communique. Second, the Canadian federal government re-launched their open data portal.

The Open Data Charter lays out five principles that G8 members will now follow in regards to the publication of data. The expectation is that government data will now be published openly by default. The charter also advocates more openly accessible information in the private sector and public policy realms. And, thanks to the revamped data portal, all of that information will now be easier to seek out. Need to look into the demographics of a certain neighborhood before you start up a new business? Doing a school project on wide scale immigration trends? All of this information will now be less difficult to find.

"My hope is that longer term it will have a bigger impact on Canadians," Eaves tells the CBC, "although they may not actually visit the data portal themselves but they will use something or benefit from a policy that made use of data that was available on the portal." So, even if you don't access this data personally, someone drafting a policy that directly impacts you will be able to. Eaves is often sought after by governments and organizations to discuss the practical implications of the open data movement. In fact, he moderated five roundtable discussions with the federal government before the relaunch of their data portal. He speaks to a variety of audiences about the need to move toward a more open and transparent future, and how to overcome the challenges of doing so.

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