Internet Governance of Open Government Data and for sustainable development

7 November 2012 - A Workshop on Openness in Baku, Azerbaijan

Agenda

The number of open government / public sector information policy initiatives are increasing not only in the USA and Europe but developing countries as well. A European Union (EU) platform for open government data is being created and countries within its fold have been asked by the EU to make open government data available via this European wide platform. In Africa, Kenya has launched an open government data website (https://opendata.go.ke) as has Uganda (Opendatauganda.com). Somalia (http://opendata.gov.so) hopes to make all data about Somalia held by international development organisations available. The African Development Bank Group (AfDB) also launched an Open Data for Africa platform opendataforafrica.org in the hope that it would increase access to the quality data needed to manage and monitor the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) in African countries. The Caribbean is also focusing on open government data and discussions were held recently in Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica and the Dominican Republic to promote the potential of Open Government Data, Open Innovation and Open Source for sustainable development in the region. Opening up government data online holds broad benefits in that it enables society to use it for all manner of purposes such as democratic engagement, provision of public services, and for profit making through the building of applications and private services from its use. A 2006 study revealed that the mean value of public sector information in the EU is around EUR 27 billion, 0.25% of the total aggregated GDP for the EU http://ec.europa.eu/information_society/policy/psi/what_is_psi/index_en.htm. The huge hopes that underpin government data can only be realised if the data is accessible to all for reuse. Open Government Data is a complex area in that it has many dimensions, many of which apply to the physical layer of the Internet and its governance and is important for sustainable human, economic and social development. The need for open government data is even more prominent in the developing world where Internet access is problematic. According to Dr. Bitange Ndemo, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Information and Communications in Kenya, "There's no continent that needs Open Data more than Africa" (http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=UCIRF2wS_ec). The ability for open government data to improve the economic prospects of developing countries, including those emerging from crisis will be examined in the workshop along with the type of Internet governance framework that is needed to help ensure that this becomes reality. The workshop will consider and examine the following questions issues and concerns: 1. Can the process of developing this open government data content layer help encourage an enabling ICT environment and relevant investment for the development and economic prosperity of countries that have yet to start to build an online open government data environment? 2. Whether the linking of open government data portals at the national, regional and international level would help address some of the issues the worlds population faces related to shortages in water, food, as well as issues like disasters and the economic crisis and what role international institutions can play in addressing these if any. 3. As more government data is made open questions have arisen about the ability to anonymise data. The number of countries introducing data privacy laws continues to increase. These are not homogeneous and whether this may potentially hinder the innovative use of open government data will be discussed. 4. As the developing world wakes up to the possibility of open government data it will also focus on what can be learnt from other countries that are facing similar or/and new issues as a result of opening up government data and what internet governance measures can be explored to address them. A remote hub for individuals interested in open government data that want to participate will connect to the workshop via remote participation. This workshop is a follow up from the IGF5 and IGF6 workshops on Public Sector Information online: towards a Global policy framework.