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Tag Archive: international transparency

G8 countries must work harder to open up essential data

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed by the guest blogger and those providing comments are theirs alone and do not reflect the opinions of the Sunlight Foundation or any employee thereof. Sunlight Foundation is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information within the guest blog.

Open data and transparency will be one of the three main topics at the G8 Summit in Northern Ireland next week. Today transparency campaigners released preview results from the global Open Data Census showing that G8 countries still have a long way to go in releasing essential information as open data.

The Open Data Census is run by the Open Knowledge Foundation, with the help of a network of local data experts around the globe. It measures the openness of data in ten key areas including those essential for transparency and accountability (such as election results and government spending data), and those vital for providing critical services to citizens (such as maps and transport timetables). Full results for the 2013 Open Data Census will be released later this year.

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OpenGov Voices: On the eve of a disappointing FOI law, Spanish civic organizations meet the challenge

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed by the guest blogger and those providing comments are theirs alone and do not reflect the opinions of the Sunlight Foundation or any employee thereof. Sunlight Foundation is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information within the guest blog.

David CaboJacobo Elosua

Victoria Anderica

This guest post is co-authored by David Cabo, Victoria Anderica and Jacobo Elosua. David and Jacobo co-founded Fundación Ciudadana Civio, which promotes an engaged citizenry through transparency and data openness in Spain. Together, they empower citizens with information technologies and data journalism to demand for transparency and accountability from government. David also created dondevanmisimpuestos.es, a website that visualizes annual budgets from Spanish public administrations. Victoria Anderica works with Access Info Europe -- a group that provides access to legislation information under the Right to Information Rating projects. She is involved in the “Legal Leaks” -- a project that trains journalists on how to use access to information laws.

Corruption is the second biggest concern for Spaniards, right after unemployment, according to quarterly polls.

From news about fraud accusations about the King of Spain’s son-in-law to judicial investigations into the ruling People’s Party to a scandal involving the Socialist Party and major trade unions over unemployment benefits fraud, citizens are losing patience and much of the media’s attention is focused on the country’s institutions.

Civio Foundation petitionIn response to these scandals, the word “transparency” is suddenly heard in every corner, in every demonstration, in every TV debate. Many more Spaniards are now aware of what some civic organizations have been denouncing for years: Spain is the only country in Europe with more than one million inhabitants who do not have access to information legislation.

The Spanish Congress is currently debating a draft law that fails the test when subjected to most basic international standards. Access to information is still not a fundamental right in line with the ruling of international courts of human rights. Currently, the law only applies to administrative information – not to the judicial and legislative branches of the state. The definition of “administrative information” excludes drafts, notes, internal reports or communications between administrative bodies. And the monitoring and appeals body is not independent because it is part of the Ministry of Public Administrations.

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Transparency advocates from all around the world

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A few months ago, we embarked on a journey to create a repository of civil society organizations working around transparency and open data issues from all around the world. With our annual TransparencyCamp having evolved into a significant hub for open government advocates alongside Sunlight’s growing involvement in the global and municipal open data movement, it seemed a logical next step to map the landscape of like-minded folks and create a single spreadsheet that tracks local and international players in the field.

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How Unique is the New U.S. Open Data Policy?

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The White House’s new Executive Order may be significantly different than the open data policies that have come before it on the federal level, but where does it stand in a global -- and local -- context? Many folks have already jumped at the chance to compare this new US executive order and the new policies that accompany it to a similar public letter issued by UK Prime Minister David Cameron in 2010, but little attention has been paid to one of the new policy’s most substantial provisions: the creation of a public listing of agency data based on an internal audits of information holdings. As administrative as this provision might sound, the creation of this listing (and the accompanying scoping of what information isn’t yet public, but could be released) is part of the next evolution of open data policies (and something Sunlight has long called for as a best practice). So does this policy put the U.S. on the leading edge?

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Guess who’s coming to TCamp13: countdown to TCamp edition

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“Guess Who’s Coming to TCamp” is a mini-series we started last year to introduce some of the faces you'll see at TransparencyCamp. We're now in the homestretch before TCamp 2013, and are highlighting some more international guests and TransparencyCamp scholars joining us in Washington, DC on May 4 and 5.

For the last two years, we invited a number of advocates, journalists, policy makers, developers and others from all over the world to join us for TCamp and a series of informal meetings in the days before TransparencyCamp. This year, we opened up the process for participants outside the U.S. and invited people to join us through an online application process. We had an overwhelming response to the program with over 400 applicants. Thanks to our generous funders, we will welcome 23 people from a wide range of countries. Here`s our map:

Last week we brought you Oluseun Onigbinde from Nigeria, Juha Yrjola from Finland and Pamela Mutale Kapekele from Zambia. Today we'll learn a little bit about Fabrizio Alfredo Scrollini Mendez from the UK (via South America), Amira Khalil from Egypt, Bibhusan Bista from Nepal, Thejesh Gangaiah Nagarathna from India, and Vadym Hudyma from Ukraine.

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