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Re: Defining "Open" Data (was RE: no F2F3 in 2009 -- Re: Agenda, eGov IG Call, 11 Nov 2009)

From: Josh Tauberer <tauberer@govtrack.us>
Date: Mon, 16 Nov 2009 08:05:24 -0500
Message-ID: <4B014E14.3000401@govtrack.us>
To: Jonathan Gray <jonathan.gray@okfn.org>
CC: Laurence Millar <laurence.millar@gvg.net.nz>, eGovIG IG <public-egov-ig@w3.org>, "Emmanouil Batsis (Manos)" <manos@abiss.gr>, Todd Vincent <todd.vincent@xmllegal.org>, Niklas Lindström <lindstream@gmail.com>, "prof. dr. Tom M. van Engers" <vanengers@uva.nl>, peter.krantz@gmail.com, david osimo <david.osimo@gmail.com>, Rufus Pollock <rufus.pollock@okfn.org>
On 11/16/2009 07:21 AM, Jonathan Gray wrote:
> Indeed we've been in conversation with the people behind the Open
> Government Data Principles about how we can incorporate the Open
> Knowledge Definition (which I think pre-dated the Government Data
> Principles by a couple of years) into their definition.
...
 > Also we've had several discussions about point 8. of the OGD
 > principles which says that open government data must be 'license
 > free'. We are not sure about this. For example many governments use
 > licenses (such as the UK's Click Use PSI license - which is Open
 > Knowledge Definition compliant) which mean that anyone can use the
 > data with almost no restriction. Point 8. might be US Federal
 > government bias

Not to speak for the 8 Principles group, but what I think they would say 
in consensus is that the OKD was not strong enough for the expectations 
of *government* data in the United States. (I think it might have been 
you or Rufus who put it in those terms in an email either to me or on 
the OKFN list a while back.)

"Open" is an artificial construct and it will depend on the culture in 
which it's used. In the US, "license-free" is a no-brainer. Government 
simply is not supposed to tell you how you are allowed to express facts 
that you've come across (modulo privacy, security, etc.). I'm a moral 
relativist. If other cultures have different standards, let there be 
different notions of "open" as many times as it is useful.

 > I'm not sure
> how actively maintained the Open Government Principles are though...

The group seemed to be happy enough with them that there's been no need 
for maintenance.

I've been lurking on this list almost since the beginning and I don't 
usually get involved... I will throw in two cents here, which is that 
having a precise binary definition of "open" has not even close 
influenced government policy here. And if we went around pointing out 
where data doesn't meet all 8 Principles we'd have a long list of 
enemies. What's been helpful is to establish possible priorities that 
policymakers and the tech wonks around them could pick and choose from.

- Josh Tauberer
- CivicImpulse / GovTrack.us

http://razor.occams.info | www.govtrack.us | civicimpulse.com

"Members of both sides are reminded not to use guests of the
House as props."
Received on Monday, 16 November 2009 13:06:02 GMT

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