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RE: position paper: Social Media in eGovernment

From: Novak, Kevin <KevinNovak@aia.org>
Date: Thu, 4 Dec 2008 13:50:49 -0500
Message-ID: <7D3AB086C3D86347AE8225DE8190296B025DE087@AIA-NT1.aia.org>
To: "Owen Ambur" <Owen.Ambur@verizon.net>, "eGov IG" <public-egov-ig@w3.org>


I thought I would chime in. I think there are multiple levels of stewardship and ownership and agree with John that despite our desire to use the term stewardship over initiatives and information, in many ways organizations own information.

Having come from an organization that was both a Federal Agency and a repository for the Country's intellectual property, we had (and they continue to) deal with varying levels of stewardship and ownership and the pull between intent and policy.

I don't think we will ever get to the point where all that egov offers will be definitively and conclusively one or the other.

To add to the conversation, I have added below the bullet points from Obama's paper he gave prior to the election which I think are the most pertinent to the dialog relating to the social media paper and the work of the IG.

See below:

Making government data available online in universally accessible formats to allow citizens to make use
of that data to comment, derive value, and take action in their own communities. Greater access to
environmental data, for example, will help citizens learn about pollution in their communities, provide
information about local conditions back to government and empower people to protect themselves.
* Establishing pilot programs to open up government decision-making and involve the public in the work
of agencies, not simply by soliciting opinions, but by tapping into the vast and distributed expertise of
the American citizenry to help government make more informed decisions.
* Requiring his appointees who lead Executive Branch departments and rulemaking agencies to conduct
the significant business of the agency in public, so that any citizen can watch a live feed on the Internet
as the agencies debate and deliberate the issues that affect American society. He will ensure that these
proceedings are archived for all Americans to review, discuss and respond. He will require his
appointees to employ all the technological tools available to allow citizens not just to observe, but also
to participate and be heard in these meetings.
* Restoring the basic principle that government decisions should be based on the best-available,
scientifically-valid evidence and not on the ideological predispositions of agency officials.
* Lifting the veil from secret deals in Washington with a web site, a search engine, and other web tools
that enable citizens easily to track online federal grants, contracts, earmarks, and lobbyist contacts with
government officials.
* Giving the American public an opportunity to review and comment on the White House website for five
days before signing any non-emergency legislation.
* Bringing democracy and policy deliberations directly to the people by requiring his Cabinet officials to
have periodic national online town hall meetings to answer questions and discuss issues before their
* Employing technologies, including blogs, wikis and social networking tools, to modernize internal,
cross-agency, and public communication and information sharing to improve government decisionmaking.

Kevin Novak
Vice President, Integrated Web Strategy and Technology
The American Institute of Architects
1735 New York Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20006

Voice:   202-626-7303
Cell:       202-731-0037
Fax:        202-639-7606
Email:    kevinnovak@aia.org
Website: www.aia.org


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-----Original Message-----
From: public-egov-ig-request@w3.org [mailto:public-egov-ig-request@w3.org] On Behalf Of Owen Ambur
Sent: Thursday, December 04, 2008 11:40 AM
To: 'eGov IG'
Subject: RE: position paper: Social Media in eGovernment

John, in my view, this is a very important topic that warrants impassioned
debate.  (I subscribe to Michael Schrage's assertion that good manners
should not be allowed to stand in the way of a good argument.)

My short response to your rhetorical question is a question for you:  Who
"owns" the Web and the Internet?

In my view, the notion that we must bow down to others and agree to allow
them to assume ownership of *our* information is what Jean Lipman-Blumen
calls a "control myth".  (I am drafting a paper based upon her book entitled
"The Allure of Toxic Leaders: Why We Follow Destructive Bosses and Corrupt
Politicians - and How We Can Survive Them" for inclusion in my collection at

In the U.S., 17 USC 105 expressly provides that " Copyright protection . is
not available for any work of the United States Government ..."
http://www.cendi.gov/publications/04-8copyright.html#312 &

BTW, I care much less about open source *software* than I do about open and
easy access to public records.

Owen Ambur
Co-Chair Emeritus, xmlCoP  
Co-Chair, AIIM StratML Committee
Member, AIIM iECM Committee 
Invited Expert, W3C eGov IG
Membership Director, FIRM Board  
Former Project Manager, ET.gov 

-----Original Message-----
From: public-egov-ig-request@w3.org [mailto:public-egov-ig-request@w3.org]
On Behalf Of Sheridan, John
Sent: Thursday, December 04, 2008 7:38 AM
To: eGov IG
Subject: RE: position paper: Social Media in eGovernment


Thanks for your comments - and yes we should absolutely debate these
questions - which are designedly provocative, and aim to put the issues into
an e-Government context.

There was one part I do have a little trouble with:

> With reference to the first question, I would make a plea for use of the
> word "stewardship" rather than "ownership" -- at least as far as public
> information is concerned.  (The notion that someone ... anyone ... could
> "own" a social network is also anathema to me.)  See the section entitled
> "Culture" at the bottom of page 10 (PDF page 16) of the document at
> http://www.defenselink.mil/cio-nii/docs/InfoSharingStrategy.pdf -- whose
> four enumerated goals are available in StratML format at
> http://xml.gov/stratml/DoDISS.xml 

To my mind, we can't just pretend that copyright and other intellectual
property rights don't exist - there absolutely is *ownership* in social
networks, with the nature of that ownership depending on their terms of use
(e.g. many services allow me to retain ownership of *my* data, but grant
extensive permission to the service provider).

We may like to live in a world of stewardship, but we actually live in a
world of ownership - of intellectual property rights, copyright, and (in
Europe) database rights. It is precisely because these networks have such
value, that we should discuss who owns them - and ownership is absolutely
the right word to use - because ownership inescapably exists and is

A rhetorical question: is there a major social networking service that
doesn't address intellectual property rights, one way or another, in their
terms of use?

That social networks are owned (somehow), is a fact. That they are (or
should be) stewarded, is a point of view (and not necessarily one I disagree
with by the way!).

If you like, "stewardship" is an answer to the "ownership" question.


-----Original Message-----
From: public-egov-ig-request@w3.org [mailto:public-egov-ig-request@w3.org]
On Behalf Of Jose M. Alonso
Sent: Wednesday, December 03, 2008 6:03 PM
To: eGov IG
Cc: John Sheridan; Kevin Novak
Subject: position paper: Social Media in eGovernment

Dear Group participants,

As discussed at the F2F, John drafted a position paper for the  
upcoming W3C workshop on the Future of Social Networking [1] that  
Kevin and I reviewed.

Paper is available at [2] and has just been sent to the programme  
committee. I'm very sorry that due to time constraints we were not  
able to share it with the Group ahead of time to get more comments  
from you. We'll update the Group at a future call or by email once we  
get more information from the PC.

This closes ACTION-30.


[1] http://www.w3.org/2008/09/msnws/
[2] http://www.w3.org/2008/12/egov-social-ws

Jose M. Alonso <josema@w3.org>    W3C/CTIC
eGovernment Lead                  http://www.w3.org/2007/eGov/

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Received on Thursday, 4 December 2008 18:51:33 UTC

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