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International Anticorruption Day
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
December 9, 2012
Today we recognize International Anticorruption Day and honor the tireless efforts of activists, businesses, government officials, and international organizations to combat corruption and promote open and transparent government.
While much work remains, 2012 was a successful year in the global fight against corruption. Since its inception last year, the Open Government Partnership has grown sevenfold and now includes 58 countries representing a quarter of the world’s population, encouraging greater access to information, citizen engagement, and fiscal transparency. The United States and the world’s largest economies have been leading by example, as the G20 created an ambitious anticorruption action plan for the next two years and adopted principles to keep corrupt officials away from our borders. Under the U.S. presidency, the G8 joined regional partners to convene the first Arab Forum on Asset Recovery in order to help identify and recover proceeds of corruption stowed abroad.
The United States is committed to preventing corruption and the destructive impact it has on communities around the globe. With our partners, we are working to promote legal regimes that prosecute corrupt actors, recover the proceeds of corruption and other illicitly acquired assets, and fight other crimes such as money laundering. The United States is proud to be a partner in the global fight to combat corruption and applauds all those working to sustain transparent, open societies around the world.
Call to Innovators: Apply To Present at G-8 Conference on Open Data for Agriculture
About the Authors: Catherine Woteki serves as Under Secretary for Research, Education, and Economics and Chief Scientist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and Nick Sinai serves as the U.S. Deputy Chief Technology Officer.
In an exciting opportunity, the G-8 is inviting innovators to apply to present ideas that demonstrate how open data can be unleashed to increase food security at the G-8 International Conference on Open Data for Agriculture on April 29-30, 2013 in Washington, D.C.
Open data is being used by innovators and entrepreneurs around the world to accelerate development, whether it be tracking election transparency in Kenya or providing essential information to rural farmers in Uganda. The G-8 conference will convene policy makers, thought leaders, food security stakeholders, and data experts to discuss the role of public, agriculturally-relevant… more »
“It’s time to think different about hacking in Congress. Later this afternoon, I’ll be strolling over to Capitol Hill to participate in what I believe is an unprecedented event: developers working with a bipartisan group of lawmakers and staffers to figure out how to “hack Congress” to make it work better for citizens. Details on the Facebook hackathon are over at the House Majority Leader’s website. There are a number of reasons that I’m optimistic that we’ll see useful results from today’s efforts. First, the Republicans have been invested in this area on this since before last year’s election, when the GOP leadership put embracing innovation on the agenda. In April, they sent a letter to the House Clerk regarding legislative data release. Then, in September, a live XML feed for the House floor went online. Yes, there’s a long way to go on open legislative data quality in Congress but there’s support for open government data on both sides of the aisle.”—
Gov 2.0 is one of the few things there seems to be real bipartisan support for in these divisive times. Should be interesting to see what comes out of this.
10 Principles for Open Government
1. Go Open – Government should work in the open. Its contracts, grants, legislation, regulation and policies should be transparent. Openness gives people the information they need to know how their democracy works and to participate.
2. Open Gov Includes Open Access - Work created by and at the behest of the taxpayer whether through grants or contracts should be freely available. After the public has paid once, it shouldn’t have to pay again.
3. Make Open Gov Productive Not Adversarial – Given the time-consuming nature of responding to information requests today, Government should invest its human and financial capital in providing the data that people really want and will use. Officials should articulate what they hope people will do with the data provided (ie. design a new Federal Register) and also be open to the unexpected contributions that improve the workings of the organization and help the public.
4. Be Collaborative – It isn’t enough just to be transparent; officials need to take the next step of actively soliciting engagement from those with the incentives and expertise to help. Legislation and regulatory rulemaking should be open to public as early as possible in the process to afford people an opportunity – not simply to comment — but to submit constructive alternative proposals. Legislation should also mandate that agencies undertake public engagement during implementation.
5. Love Data – Design policies informed by real-time data. With data, we can measure performance, figure out what’s working, and change what’s not. Publishing the data generated in connection with new policies as well as “crowdsourcing” data gathered by those outside government enables innovation in policymaking. As an added bonus, open data also has the potential to create economic opportunity.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency in the United States has a ~$5 billion dollar annual budget. Through the open release of data, NOAA is catalyzing at least 100 times that value in the private sector market of weather and climate services when including market and non-market valuations.  The ~$1 billion it spends on the National Weather Service helps enable weather.com, which has since been sold for $3.5 billion. Hidden within the troves of public data is information that can translate into the next GPS or genomics industry.
6. Be Nimble – Where possible, invite innovations that can be implemented in 90 days or less. Forcing organizations to act more quickly discourages bureaucracy and encourages creative brainstorming and innovation. The need for speed encourages a willingness to reach out to others, including across the public sector.
7. Do More, Spend Less – Design solutions that do more with less. Instead of cutting a service to save money, ask if there is another way such as a prize or challenge to address people’s problems that both serves their needs and cuts costs. In this era of scientific and technological advances, we have amazing new ways of addressing problems if we can only recognize and implement them. Innovation may ultimately bring the win-win of more cost-effectiveness and greater engagement.
8. Invest in Platforms – So long as Freedom of Information, declassification and records management processes are entirely manual and data is created in analog instead of digital formats, open government will be very hard. Further, without tools to engage the public in brainstorming, drafting, policy reviews, and the other activities of government, collaboration will elude us. Focus on going forward practices of creating raw data and real engagement.
9. Invest in People – Changing the culture of government will not happen through statements of policy alone. It is important to ensure that policy empowers people to seek democratic alternatives and pursue open innovation. Consider appointing Chief Innovation Officers, Chief Democracy Officers, Chief Technology Officers.
10. Design for Democracy – Always ask if the legislation enables active and constructive engagement that uses people’s abilities and enthusiasm for the collective good. It is not enough to simply “throw” Facebook or Twitter at a problem. A process must be designed to complement the tool that ensures meaningful and manageable participation for both officials and the public.
Celebrating Open Government Progress
When President Barack Obama helped launch the Open Government Partnership (OGP) last year, no one could have predicted that it would capture the imagination of the international community as it has. In just one year, 57 governments have joined OGP and made more than 300 specific commitments to be more open and responsive to their citizens. These commitments, as contained in National OGP Action Plans, will impact nearly two billion people around the world.
This is truly impressive progress, but it’s not enough. And so, as we celebrate International Right to Know Day, we also celebrate the deepening commitment to open government — both globally and within the United States. As the U.S. Government…more »
Software developers & policy enthusiasts unite! Suggest data and create apps to get government to stop fighting, start fixing.
We’re thrilled to launch the Apps for Working Government Challenge to highlight innovative apps that make government more transparent and effective. Along with partners Sunlight Foundation, Personal Democracy Media, The Monkey Cage, and No Labels, we’re inviting software developers to enter new or existing applications that can help reduce partisan gridlock and increase legislative productivity at the federal, state, or local level.
Software developers, policy enthusiasts, technologists, as well as anyone invigorated by the potential of technology and the Internet are encouraged to join our discussion to share relevant data and solution ideas, and create web, mobile, or desktop apps in one of these two categories:
- Educational tools: Apps that visualize or analyze data to illustrate the problem of partisan gridlock, legislative productivity or lack thereof), and/or related consequences.
- Solutions & action tools: Apps that citizens can use to communicate with legislators or mobilize other citizens, or tools that legislators can use to advance collaboration.
Why are we holding the Apps for Working Government Challenge?
There are a lot of frustrated Americans who want their government to be more productive. They also want to be able to make informed decisions based on hard data rather than rhetoric or ideology. We’re excited to introduce this challenge as a way to empower regular citizens to enact change in their government. It really gets to the root of people using their talents and harnessing technology to make government better.
With the U.S. federal government careening from one crisis to the next, citizens are increasingly frustrated with the government’s inability to get things done. We can’t solve this problem with software alone, but we can harness technology to educate and empower both citizens and lawmakers to make government more transparent or effective.
“People hate gridlock and want government to do something. But people also disagree about what exactly it’s supposed to do — which is precisely what creates gridlock,” said John Sides, Co-Founder and Contributor of ‘The Monkey Cage,’ a blog about political science and politics. “This competition offers an opportunity to address this fundamental tension and generate innovations that can educate and enlighten citizens.”
What’s in it for you?
- $5,000 in cash prizes for the winning apps
- Opportunity to brainstorm with policy and tech experts, and get feedback and improvement tips on your app if you submit it by May 1, 2013, the early submission deadline
- Opportunity to get your app noticed and judged by a distinguished judging panel
- Placement on the challenge website for all eligible apps
How can you get involved?
- Register for the challenge.
- Join the discussion: share relevant data, existing apps, and solution ideas.
- Get inspired: explore data/APIs and app examples.
- Create an app, or enter an already available one.
- Share this meaningful competition with a friend.
Submissions are being accepted from now until June 19, 2013. For full challenge details, visit http://AppsForWorkingGov.ChallengePost.com.
We hope you’ll join our discussions and/or create an app that help get government working!
The cake test of freedom
What is the cake test? Easy: geographic data, or a map, is open only if someone can make you a gift of a cake with your map on it.
The cake test is inspired by the dissident test and thedesert island test used by the Debian community to gauge software freedom for packages to be included in a free and open distribution.
For data to pass the cake test, you must be able to freely share the data with someone (the baker) who can re-use it for a profitable activity (the baking of cakes) and is then freely able to redistribute the resulting derived work (the cake).
The cake test can apply to all kinds of information resources, not just geodata. A resource that passes the cake test will be open in the sense of the Open Knowlege Definition. You could print a research paper onto a cake, a chart based on a dataset, some code describing an algorithm. Obviously a map just looks prettier on a cake.
The objective of the Cake Test is quite simple:If a layperson can’t decide if one can or cannot give away a cake, or cannot do this easily, then the data or the maps cannot be freely used. And you could be sure that if two datasets each passed the cake test, then it should be fine to give someone a cake decorated with parts of both of them – that is the intention of the data makers. Is it open data? Does the data pass the cake test?