W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-egov-ig@w3.org > February 2009

Re: Dialogue Between SDOs and Governments

From: Jose M. Alonso <josema@w3.org>
Date: Sun, 8 Feb 2009 01:23:10 +0100
Cc: eGov IG <public-egov-ig@w3.org>, Malcolm Crompton <MCrompton@iispartners.com>
Message-Id: <A0426B43-B76B-45FC-B15A-4E0A7A606B09@w3.org>
To: "Owen Ambur" <Owen.Ambur@verizon.net>

Owen, thanks for adding reference to the OMB Circular A-119. As I said  
in my previous message, the situation in Europe is quite different.  
See CAMSS: Common Assessment Method for Standards and Specifications,  
an initiative of the European Commission -- http://ec.europa.eu/idabc/en/document/7407

In my view, CAMSS establishes a new abstract layer for governments not  
to go and work directly with existing standards. Governments will  
develop a methodology and precisely define needs and requirements,  
then go to the market and find out what technologies and requirements  
fulfill those (see the section on criteria).

Malcolm said:
> Some thought as to how to get Robin's message widely heard & then  
> acted upon
> might be part of this W3C group's agenda.  If it isn't, we may end  
> up only
> convincing ourselves.

This is very important and let me as frank as usual and share with you  
some of my personal experience from 2+ years of work setting up this  
activity. Some/most of it I mentioned before.

This group does not intend to standardize anything; is not doing  
recommendation track work. My idea from the beginning was that there  
is enough technology and standards out there, but that they are not  
being used to its full potential by governments to achieve their  
policy goals, e.g. some must be deployed further... some Web basics  
are not yet well understood!
This has been an important part of the discussion on Open Government  
Data and I think we all agree on that our main goal there is to  
convince governments to make as much public information as possible  
available in open readily shareable formats, mainly XML and RDF.

W3C has several Groups developing technical specifications. Some are  
heavily used by governments (know of any not using HTML and CSS in a  
portal?). W3C is an excellent place to develop that sort of stuff and  
reach consensus on a given technical topic. Do we want to replicate  
that in this Group? Well, the consensus part... of course, the  
technical part... I don't think so. I also heard from technical  
managers about the need of an international forum where they could  
share with their peers their issues around the use of Web technologies  
and standards, many told me "I'm sure there others trying to solve X  
out there."
Fortunately the charter of this Group was approved and although  
resources are not high, here we are in quite a good shape if we think  
of the Group's youth.

This Group should act as a mediator between governments and those  
other Groups and help them better serve their stakeholders. W3C needs  
input from governments to learn about their specific requirements. It  
might be that sometimes those can be fulfilled with existing standards  
combined just by using them better, sometimes maybe combined in a  
given way. Sometimes gaps in the standards might be identified. I  
think it was Daniel Bennett who mention in our latest Group call that  
the upcoming groups on social networks will be discussing interesting  
stuff but their charters in development are missing government  
requirements, i.e. jurisdiction issues in FOAF+SSL or OpenID.

I tried to convince governments to participate to give us input and to  
discuss different approaches that could help them develop better  
applications and services. I heard resistance in several countries.  
Usual argument: "leave policy makers develop policy alone and once  
done they'll tell the technical people to implement them." In my view,  
this is a mistake. I believe it is much needed to have the technical  
people informing the policy makers about what's feasible or not and  
what are the benefits of doing this and that on a given way... hence  
how the document has been organized, from a technical point of view  
but relating every technical topic to the policy outcomes that is  
related to and how it can help government achieve them.

I believe this Group could change several things for good. The topics  
we are discussing are very interesting and focused on the needs of  
government, but...
* Are we well positioned to make those changes happen?
* Are we going in the right direction?
* Should we just focus on the two main ones (Participation and  
Transparency and open Government Data)?
* How can we better engage governments?
* How can we get more commitment from current participants?

I know that some of you out there are not participating very actively  
because of workload or other more pressing commitments but I also know  
you have very interesting things to say. Malcolm's and Robin's  
messages are a very good example. Please, don't let this opportunity  
pass and speak up on these important topics. As we approach the F2F in  
March and charter expiration later in May, these questions must be  
addressed; also:

* How can this Group better serve your interests?
* Is it doing it already?
* If so, until what extent?

We also need to build consensus around this.

I've spoken at dozens of conferences in dozens of countries in the  
last 2+ years and participated in dozens of meetings with ministers,  
director-generals, CIOs, managers and developers to discuss about the  
ideas in this message and get the message out there, and I very much  
believe on them and in the value this Group can bring to the  
government community at large. I very much hope we could succeed in  
the long term. I'll keep on trying.


El 07/02/2009, a las 17:27, Owen Ambur escribió:
> With reference to Malcolm's excellent observations, the U.S. federal
> government does not lack for policy guidance on engagement with  
> standards
> development organizations (SDOs).  Relevant policy documents include  
> Circular A-119 and the National Technology Transfer and Advancement  
> Act
> (NTTAA): http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/circulars/a119/a119.html &
> http://ts.nist.gov/Standards/Conformity/nttaa.cfm
> What is lacking is effective measurement and reporting of the  
> performance of
> agencies in complying with that guidance.  The annual A-119 reporting
> process is not sufficient and the data that it compiles is not in  
> readily
> shareable (XML) format (so that it can be made salient to  
> stakeholders):
> http://standards.gov/
> The ET.gov site could be enhanced to enable ongoing, real-time  
> reporting of
> agency involvement in SDOs.  See desirable enhancement 6.4 (toward the
> bottom of the "page") at http://et.gov/history/enhancementrequirements.htm
> Unfortunately, resources have not been provided to accomplish those
> enhancements.  However, if the will to do so exists, there is no  
> reason the
> SDOs themselves could not form a consortium to measure and report such
> information on the Web (in open, standard XML format) for the  
> benefit of the
> stakeholders (citizens and taxpayers) of all governments worldwide.
> With respect to "overlap in goals," helping those who share common
> objectives identify each other and work more effectively together is  
> among
> the purposes of AIIM's emerging Strategy Markup Language (StratML)  
> standard:
> http://xml.gov/stratml/index.htm#DefinitionPurposes  Another of  
> StratML's
> purposes is to enable more efficient and effective feedback from
> stakeholders.
> 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 Malcolm Crompton
> Sent: Saturday, February 07, 2009 2:39 AM
> To: 'eGov IG'
> Subject: RE: W3C Input to the United Nations "Enhanced Cooperation"  
> Study
> Apologies to all for both this & the previous the re-send.  I am  
> trying to
> use a send address that is suitable for adding to the W3C archives  
> because
> it is expendable.
> ------------------------------------------------------------------
> I am not in a position to comment either about the UN Document or  
> most of
> Robin's email, but there is one sentence in Robin's email that is a  
> gem &
> should not be lost.
> It is this:
> "There is currently a lack of dialogue between OSSO and other
> policy-intensive organisations (mainly governments) about what those
> policies are or should be, which is a shame as I believe that there  
> is in
> many cases a strong overlap in goals."
> This is a very important point.  For 2 reasons at least:
> 1.  This is a new way of describing the common interest between OSSO &
> governments but not one I have seen put this way before.  And it has  
> a very
> strong resonance to it.  It is also the basis for the relationship  
> between
> government & more traditional professions (read >50 years old, eg
> engineering or motor car design or accounting etc).  Indeed in those  
> other
> industries, government keys off the policy intent of those  
> professions by
> relying on them to the point of mandating some of their processes in  
> law
> (sometimes at the expense of modifying them), for example the  
> mandated use
> of standards set by experts in motor car design or the interaction  
> between
> accounting standards & legal requirements for stock traded companies  
> etc.
> 2.  For whatever reason, too much of government does not place ICT  
> OSSOs in
> that category.  Winning over government is going to be essential, eg  
> in
> terms of being able to describe the ulterior motive convincingly;
> demonstrate the gains of working with OSSOs in terms that convince
> governments not OSSOs etc.  Some in government (both at the  
> political level
> and policy making/bureaucratic level) are but there is a very, very  
> long way
> to go.  Interestingly, the recent change of guard in the US may  
> produce a
> quantum step forward in this regard & the corresponding change of  
> guard here
> in Australia a year earlier has the same potential.  Both involve a  
> potent
> combination of different political philosophy & a distinct move on  
> to the
> next generation).  Certainly, the impact of the changes President  
> Obama has
> made already in his early signals about government use of ICT / Govt  
> 2.0 /
> eGov / ... are already reverberating in the corridors of power in  
> other
> nations.  Believe it or not, OSSOs are still likely to be perceived  
> too
> often as do gooders / activists / industry lobbies in disguise (all  
> at once)
> which acts against their credibility.
> Some thought as to how to get Robin's message widely heard & then  
> acted upon
> might be part of this W3C group's agenda.  If it isn't, we may end  
> up only
> convincing ourselves.
> My apologies to all for being silent over the last months, but as an  
> Invited
> Expert, to date my 'expertise' has not strongly matched the  
> directions of
> discussion to a point where I thought I could make a useful  
> contribution.
> But the discussion has been fascinating to follow.
> I will see some of you in DC at the face to face in March.  I am a  
> board
> director of the International Association of Privacy Professionals  
> as well
> as a panel convenor for their 2009 Annual Privacy Summit which means  
> I won't
> be able to attend all of the face to face but I do want to meet those
> attending.  I will be in a position to report developments back to key
> elements of the Federal Government which may be a minor contribution  
> to the
> second point made above.
> Malcolm Crompton
> Managing Director
> Information Integrity Solutions Pty Ltd
> ABN 78 107 611 898
> T:  +61 407 014 450
> MCrompton@iispartners.com
> www.iispartners.com
> [deleted]
Received on Sunday, 8 February 2009 00:23:53 UTC

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