September 30, 2011 - 09:00AM
The following is the output of the real-time captioning taken during the Sixth Meeting of the IGF, in Nairobi, Kenya. Although it is largely accurate, in some cases it may be incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors. It is posted as an aid to understanding the proceedings at the session, but should not be treated as an authoritative record.
>> CHRISTOPHER CORBIN: Just to let to you know that we are going to start in two or three minutes. Just to make sure that everyone is in the right room this is Workshop 123, public sector information online towards a global policy framework.
We are just holding on a moment because we are waiting for the camera person to arrive to ‑‑ so that it can be streamed. Okay. It looks like we are ready to go now. The camera man has come. Welcome.
Apologies for the slight delay. Welcome to Workshop 123 which is the title Public Sector Information Online Towards a Global Policy Framework. And welcome to all those that are maybe listening across the world and remotely connected to the workshop either as individual world citizens or through groups through remote hubs. Welcome to you all. I would like to thank at this early stage the scribers who we need to keep in mind when we speak. And when we do speak don't speak too fast and ensure that always when you speak that you identify yourself first so that your name actually appears on the transcript which is important. I would also like to thank two other people. First which is Keisha Taylor sitting over here from Trinidad and Tobago who is our remote moderator and the other person who is in the UK who has been doing the publicity for this workshop. She has been busy Tweeting and things like that you may have seen over the recent months which is Mary Gianoli.
My name is Christopher Corbin and I will be moderating this panel. I want to ask for each panel to provide their name and affiliation and provide a sentence in their role. For the purposes of the scribers there is two changes to the panel who are sitting on the far left. And you need to grab their names as we go along. So I will start off with Anne.
>> ANNE FITZGERALD: Hi. I am Anne Fitzgerald from QUT, from Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia. And I have had access to educational resources over about the last five or so years including the use of creative comments in the public sector.
>> Hello. I am Wey Ward (phonetic) and I am based in Hong Kong. And I work for a public policy think tank and I am following PSI policies in Europe, India and Hong Kong, China. And I am interested in the economic value creation, innovation through PSI. And I have been working on this topic for the past four, five years.
>> ABHISHEK SINGH: I am Abhishek Singh. I am an associate with the national legal plan. And in particular right now we are working on right to services which will be right to electronic delivery of services which will be a follow‑up on the Right to Information Act that we enacted some time back. Thank you.
>> RAJESHREE DUTTA KUMAR: Hi. I am Rajeshree Dutta Kumar. I am a senior program specialist with the Centre for Science, Development and Media Studies. And we work in the space of ICT for governance. And our role is bringing the knowledge information together and disseminating the information. Thank you.
>> CHRISTOPHER CORBIN: Thank you very much panel. Now I would like to just give a few words to put the workshop in to context and bring a few things to your attention. First I hope you have all had a chance to download the background paper which is about 30 pages long which you can get off the IGF Website, 1, 2, 3 by pressing the background paper link. We have also published as an input to this workshop a paper produced by Keisha over here which is a status report on the ‑‑ all the countries within the Caribbean area. And why we are interested in this is this area is made up of predominately small islands. And when we are looking at policy how do we deal with areas of that size. That report will be published on the IGF Website when we publish our final report of this workshop. And it is already online in the European public sector. It is www.epsiplatform.eu. European PSI platform is a huge resource of information about public sector information, reuse policy as it is applied within the European Union. If you have never visited it I would suggest that you do if you are interested in this subject. Together with others in the United States, Australia and Spain. Throughout the time of the IGF6 we have been undertaking via Keisha an awareness survey. If you have not already completed that survey please do so. Keisha has them there and that will be included in the report from this workshop.
Now this workshop itself actually builds upon the workshop which was presented at Vilnius in IGF5 and you can find the ‑‑ in your book which was handed out in your red or green folder on pages 223 to 225 the report of that and that is also now online I understand on the IGF Website. You can look at that on the IGF site. The other item I want to draw your attention to which is relevant to this workshop which is in your green and red bag which is this document on the European Union digital agenda which includes lots of topics that are being discussed here at IGF6, but on page 9 it talks about what the European Union is doing with regards to public sector information.
Now this workshop was actually put together and submitted as a proposal nine months ago and the world moves on. Those of you who watch this space may have well spotted last week in Washington on the 22nd of September heads of Government from many nations including Ghana, Kenya, no doubt some other African nations as well and they signed up to an open government declaration. The first thing that they have actually signed up within this declaration is to increase the availability of information about Governmental activities. When you read the text which is underneath that that is directly relevant to this workshop. So what we actually have in the nine months since we put the proposal together and submitted it we have a huge up‑push from civil society right across the world.
Now we have a downward top level push, what is really missing across the world, in fact, is a global policy on how this can actually be dealt with and that's what we are trying to address through this workshop. The workshop is very structured. It is going to ask three questions about whether there should, in fact, be a public sector information or open Government data framework. In other words, how do you actually implement and deliver this high level or what the bottom‑up community desires. It is actually the substance in the middle which we are actually looking at and we are using this workshop as a test, if you like, of opinion as to whether now is the time to start seeing what we should do to bring a global policy in to place or whether it is too early and we should wait a little longer. That's really the context of what we are actually going to do.
So the first question we are going to debate is ‑‑ I am going to ask each of the panel to give us up to three bullet points on this particular question. Is there a need for a global policy on public sector information, open Government data policy similar to that adopted by the OECD and the European Union that have been adopted by 50 plus United Member States. I am going to start with Anne.
>> ANNE FITZGERALD: I guess I would really say that it is really time now to move on to develop at a global level a set of general high level principles about access to public sector information. The OECD recommendation and declaration, if I refer here to the OECD declaration on access to public sector information, it is also necessary to look at their recommendation on access to publicly funded research. These are quite complex documents, quite detailed in some ways and perhaps what we really need is something that is stated at a more general level but in the context of the Internet, the digital economy, I think what we can see is that there is a relatively clear picture emerging. It is understood internationally that we really can use the Internet. We can use data that is collected, produced or funded by Government in digital form for many beneficial purposes.
And I think that it is probably time to have this reflected in some more generally accepted statement of principles worldwide.
>> My answer to that question would be no, not yet. Simply because I believe that PSI is part of a wider information policy that needs to be there in a country. And if I look at the map of the e‑readiness or information policy readiness of the UN Member States I think there is less than half the Governments that have some e‑Government policy in place. Unless you have these basics in place, I believe it will be very difficult to come up with PSI because PSI to me is something that is quite advanced strategy to make economic reuse from public information. And of the 194 countries so far, yes, less than 50% have any kind of information policy in place and also have this freedom on the Internet. Freedom on the net which is maybe a prerequisite to make use of public information. So that would be my answer. And I think for those countries who want to develop national policies the existing framework by the OECD is a very good reference. And I remember when this was published in the 2008 in Seoul it was also explicitly mentioned that OECD guidelines were meant for any nation who wishes to adopt such a policy. So it is an open recommendation strategy and has very exhaustive guidelines on what to do. Of course, you can say less developed countries may have difficulties to implement the whole policy but they perhaps they can pick parts of it and then start it. Yeah. So yes. So I would say too early for worldwide policy. Maybe we need a few more years with good examples also from emerging countries how they do it successfully.
>> ABHISHEK SINGH: Well, what I would say is that while there can be no arguments with regard to the need for an open Government policy across the world but at the same time we will have to articulate and we have to work out the roadmap towards reaching that goal. If at the moment, at the moment in which we are sending now if we are saying that either OECD impose public PSI policy for open Government is something which is the best to be adopted it would be a bit premature to say that. We have to see the individual situations in various countries. I don't think there is any democracy is not for open government. Open government is understood to bring in accountability and efficiency and Governments across the world are trying to strive these goals. How do we reach the level of open Government that some countries of the world have already reached. We will have to work out that roadmap. We will have to create a toolkit and have to work out individual country specific parts to which ‑‑ to achieving that. If that is not done then there might be countries who might react differently to such things and whatever gains would have been possible otherwise might not have been achieved.
So as far as India is concerned we are committed to an open Government policy and we are working on an open data policy that we feel putting up entire data and information with regard to public sector enterprise, with regard to whatever the Government does with the taxpayer's money that's a fundamental principle for good governance. And there is a very particular section in the RTI Act of 2005 which says it will be (inaudible) of public entities and Government departments to put all Government data in an electronic format and be available through a network.
This underlying principle of the RTI Act is that the core of open‑ended policy and it ‑‑ we are committed to providing all information to all citizens in a very open format in standardized metadatasets so innovators can use this data for building up applications that can help deliver services. And also in the process of enacting right to electronics bill which mandates that all public services will be delivered in an electronic form. As far as India is concerned we do have a policy in place for open Government stage. As far as worldwide we will have to study individual countries and the toolkit will be the first thing to start with. Thank you.
>> RAJESHREE DUTTA KUMAR: Well, my thoughts have already been expressed by Mr. Abhishek. There is a need for open policy. But at the same time the points that ‑‑ points have already been discussed I believe that we should also have a provision for a globally consistent framework. Framework delivered by the global reporting initiative by corporate, is it a guideline for framework and if we can ensure a mechanism which actually rightly ensures that we can end the exclusive elements that restore competition in the market. These are two points that perhaps could be taken in to consideration. Thank you.
>> CHRISTOPHER CORBIN: Thank you. I also have an input from the Spanish Government who are a part of this workshop but were unable to appear here. So I am going to read out what they sent as their response to question 1. A shared global framework on public sector information, reuse and open data would be desirable. The OECD and European Union frameworks could serve as a reference but more benchmarking and bench learning would be needed. Shared standards and minimal principles on formats, licenses and intraoperability would be very helpful. Next I would like to ask Keisha if there is anything remotely.
>> KEISHA TAYLOR: No, nothing remotely from remote ‑‑ no.
>> CHRISTOPHER CORBIN: Okay. Then we will open it up to the floor. So what we are interested to hear from you is whether you think it is at the right time, no or other views. Who would like to start? Please give your name first.
>> I am Depula from Somalia. There is never a good time and we have to start from somewhere. And the idea if we say we are not ready I just feel like we will be saying we are not ready in ten years time, too. So the sooner we start something the better. I was in Washington a week ago and I was talking about the open data that Kenya launched and the same question was asked. And I said it is up to you. We can always keep measuring. What we are missing is the data itself. It is in the UN or World Bank or somewhere. The journey is a thousand miles and we have to take the first step. Thank you.
>> CHRISTOPHER CORBIN: Thank you. Anybody else?
>> DOROTHY GORDON: Yeah, I think it is obvious that it is a process and I think that while we have the OECD document which is out there, I am not sure because I haven't read it yet whether it addresses the process issues as well. And I think that what we need to start with is a sort of evaluation of benchmarking as colleagues from Spain said, benchmarking to see the level of open readiness we could say and that would allow countries to assess really what would be their path. What would be their roadmap to getting to where they need to get to. Obviously there is so much difference in the OECD context with our context that we are not going to be able to pick it up in that way. If we look at the way information flows currently, you see that there seems to be huge repositories of data in North America and in Europe that people are accessing and that we have a lot ‑‑ a long way to go in creating the content. I haven't looked at the question. So I don't know if the licensing issue is coming up later. Is it? Okay. So we will leave it at that. Thanks. Oh, I should ‑‑ sorry, I should have said my name is Dorothy Gordon and I am from the Ghana‑India Kofi Annan Centre of Excellence in ICT.
>> CHRISTOPHER CORBIN: Thank you. Anybody else? Well, while you are just thinking I will give you an input from the UK from Jim Ressin, head of policy in national archives. This is the group of people that ‑‑ act as regulators and their response to this is information knows no boundaries and consistent approach to open data licensing and formats across geographical boundaries will stimulate the development of intercontinental products and service. And the second point promotion of best practice will minimize administrative efforts for public sector holds and this will lead to cost savings and enable information products to be brought to the marketplace that much quicker. And the third point they wish to make is removal of obstacles will result in a wide range of information to be accessible in a variety of different products and services. So leading to better informed policy making across the public sector. The fourth point is stimulating the information industry will bring economic benefits. And the fifth point is increasing access across frontiers will lead to greater access. Anybody else like to contribute at this state? Now I would like ‑‑ yes, please.
>> My name is Simon from Kenya. We launched open data last July and have been following it on various discussion Forums and it has generated a lot of debate. First people did not realize what is the data and then it is opening opportunities for entrepreneurs who would be willing to use the data, reuse it, mash it up and come up with solutions. Okay.
>> CHRISTOPHER CORBIN: How many Kenyans are in the room? Have all the people from Kenya looked at it? You have. Yes? What do you think of it? Either of you. No response.
>> One thing that generated a lot of discussions is some of the info is old. And yes, and still the opportunities even if the info is old but the opportunities, like there are some people who might be interested in when that data is mashed up, the opportunities in realizing some historical information so to speak.
>> I am not from Kenya but I should have looked at it and I was following this program even before it was launched for another reason. And I look at it almost every second day for a variety of reasons. I think there is a lot of the information there and maybe some of the data might not be up to date but that's not the point. The point is the information is there and it is a matter of updating it. But my only concern is first of all, the marketing and how many people know about it. Especially the educational or academic sector and then the other issue is what do you do with it. In other words, it is a very powerful tool and there is a lot of data that you can use for decision making for policies and so on. So there is a need for education in the public sector and also in the universities for people to know. There is a lot of research stuff. My interest was to expanding it to the whole horn of Africa. So it is just a function of time. And that's why I am trying to push things and we should never worry about eagerness. There is always gaps and always be full of stages. So what Kenya has done I think it is an amazing outcome. Thank you.
>> I don't think that the issue is whether or not we should launch open data services. The issue is at this stage of the game do we feel and let me just pretend that I speak for Africa. Do we feel in Africa that we have enough information and experience to negotiate effectively in the context of a global policy or are we going to find ourselves being forced to adopt a set of standards that are not actually as relevant as they should be to our context. That's the issue that's on the table. A question of whether or not we are ready for a global policy at this stage and I think that we are not ready for that. And what we should do is to have a clear roadmap to prepare ourselves for that, you know, and yes, we have no objection to using the OECD as an inspiration, but it is inspiration ‑‑ it is only through the practical implementation of open data we are going to see some of the issues that should go to the global policy from the African perspective.
>> ABHISHEK SINGH: In fact, if I may, can I elaborate a little bit? To be understood is that an open data policy and open Government policy is not just about building a portal, building a data road government. It should not be done because you want to bring in more transparency, but what is also more important is that for an open Government policy there are governance issues, legal issues, social issues, economic issues that have to be addressed. When you are putting data in in the public domain or how it is to be done, how do you mandate that all relevant data of all public departments are actually put. It should not become a certain set of datasets which are not relevant also output. And so people have just said that yes, we do have an open data policy but the data which is there might not be relevant. There might be certain datasets that are left out.
When a country decides to go in for open Government domain we address these issues, what things we put in, we don't put in, whether it be available for people (inaudible) using this data outside the country. These issues have to be addressed. Each country will have to have its own roadmap, will have to identify its own issues and in the usual parlance, what they want to be is sure. How long it will take to go to that whether they are in a position to adopt a policy which is invoked in each country.
>> So the issue of interoperability is also something that we need to focus on. So unless we have minute ‑‑ unless we met certain minimum standards as to how we organize our data the data sharing cannot happen. India context why do we need to, of course, this is addressed to Mr. Abhishek Singh. It is going to go to the public for their larger good. So why not we make it available just by default. So these are the two concerns.
>> CHRISTOPHER CORBIN: Just need to clarify a point. The OECD policy principles are a recommendation for country members themselves to implement in the way they see fit. We are not talking about some world process where everyone has to conform. That's not what we are talking about. The place in the world where there is a legal requirement to implement it is in the European Union. And that is made up of over 40 countries with the countries that are associated to the European Union. And if you look at the European public sector platform there is a wealth of information of how these countries have got on. Some have had difficulties. There are over 23 languages spoken in Europe. They have language and GDC differences, population differences, density population city wise. All that variety is there. If you then couple that with some other places around the world like New Zealand or Australia, Canada and some South American ones you start to actually see that there is a lot of information that you can actually study, look at and cherry pick. For those of you who do not speak English, you speak Spanish I recommend that you look at the portal project in Spain. It is all in Spanish and that is telling all not just about how Spain is doing it but it also translates other things from English and other languages in to Spanish.
Now I would like to move on to the second question. So thank you all of you for answering or considering the first one. So now we are actually going to consider if you have said no to the question, the panelists, this is in the first instance, what do you think needs to happen next before you can move towards a potential global policy. If you have said yes, then what do you think the next steps are. Start again with Anne, please.
>> ANNE FITZGERALD: Thanks, Chris. I have to admit I don't think we have really got any clear path ahead and I think this is exactly the point that Dorothy Gordon has raised we need a process to develop a roadmap towards some global policy. We need to start developing some global policy framework but we don't have any process in place to begin doing that at this stage. Some countries and I guess Australia where I come from is an example really have not been addressing this in an international or even a regional kind of context, although we have worked cooperatively with colleagues in New Zealand. And like the European Union we don't have the advantage of working in cooperation with many other countries to developing ideas, policies, practices in this area. Nevertheless much of the government data that we want to be able to make available or to access from other countries has transboundary significance. We can think of areas such as environmental information. We can think of some economics, some health information, et cetera. Issues about epidemic.
So by definition much of the data that Governments have is not just something that's of interest to people within their own boundaries but it is actually transnational. It is international in significance. And I think we need to work perhaps towards developing a process. I don't really have an easy answer as to how we begin that process. It seems to me that entities such as the Internet Governance Forum provide at least one avenue for doing that for the developed countries obviously this can be progressed further through the OECD, through the European community has really done a lot of work in developing its framework for access to public sector information. Maybe through regional economic groupings. Through ‑‑ but it is very important to understand that this is not just a matter of for Governments. This cannot really just be topdown. It has to, in fact, be civil society, involve the innovators. A lot of momentum in this area has come from non‑Government entities.
>> What needs to happen, I think even within the Governments a large lack of awareness. So let's say, for instance, in Hong Kong we have 90 plus ministry ‑‑ Government agencies but only two actually take part in a prototype to put the data in to a portal where citizens and business people can reuse this. And if you talk to Government officials in any country, I am sure there are very few who know about PSI and the implications of PSI. I think that what is always forgotten in this whole discourse of PSI how do we educate the civil servants and how do we make them excited about this and how do we encourage them this is a new thing that creates value between the Government and the civil society and the business world. I think that is ‑‑ and also a question is also in India several hundred Government agencies why should they bother. There is a lot of education and awareness that we need to do for the civil servants, because if we don't get them on board it is additional work for them. Why should they do it. That's one thing and on the other hand, we need to do a lot more marketing in the business community and civil society. If you talk to people who are outside this very open Government I am sure very few people know about this. It is a very small discourse and very limited circle at the moment and I think we need to do a lot of ‑‑ EU is doing a great work on promoting this now with Neelie Kroes and so on. But in other countries we still have a long way to go. I want to make one comment, what I meant was not ready. I meant that many countries don't have the digital infrastructure. Don't have the standardized metadatasets. They don't have information governance. If you look at information records in these different departments there is a lot of work to do and that's what I meant was not ready. It is not like you have to do a lot of fundamental work and how is the information organized across the different Government agencies and how can we create then the platform where all this information can be really reused and in a consistent way. Thank you.
>> ABHISHEK SINGH: In fact, what I would say is that when you look at the countries, the spectrum countries they can possibly only have three kinds of countries which are there. Which already adopted the policy. One which are in the process, they are wanting to but looking in to the pros and cons and some countries are opposed to the policy. We have different governance structures across the world. In order to ensure that all countries come up to a policy, more and more information, what will be required is to begin with we should create a knowledge repository with regard to how the open data and open Government is created. How does it map. How do ‑‑ what are the metadata standards with regard to various Government data which is put in the public domain. How do they access that. Analyzed. All can be put in a global repository which countries have already done. They can share best practices and knowledge that they have acquired in this field.
Other thing required how these countries have benefitted from these initiatives. How putting data in to an open domain, how making the government open has actually improved governance, improved efficiency and brought in transparency. Has allowed for public participation, has allowed for citizens to be engaged in the Government in finalizing public policy. How are we actually getting the citizens to buy in to the public policy. If all these learnings are put in a global repository, then more and more Governments will feel inclined towards adopting an open Government policy.
Second thing as also mentioned was that the level of awareness building, level of capacity building that will be required to achieve will be huge. Will have to work at various levels of Government. There are skill sets which are to be built. Attitudinal changes to be built and people understand why doing so you are not letting go of any powers that you had but you are making your tasks simpler. The appreciation for Government's actions will be better. Once things are clouded in secrecy ‑‑ on that count also we need to work a lot with regard to change management, with regard to capacity building and maybe have to organize regional workshops, trainings of all kinds so that people in all levels are brought up to a particular level. And the third thing that needs to be done one ‑‑ not putting data in open domain. It is not the end of whole policy. Any data which is put in the public domain is leading to a service. Citizens are more interested in what kind of service they are getting from that. That linkage is well established. If you put the rainfall data in the public domain there might be people who use this data and they will start giving a service to the people which can be offered through multiple platforms and mobile phones growing across the world.
People will feel the need for and what benefits it brings and then will be a demand side and supply side and government will be interested in pushing in to an open government policy from the supply side and from the demand side will be increasing demand from the citizens who will be craving for more and more data and services from the data which will help different governments that will come up to a level that we feel we need to an open policy, at least a national policy. And then also, of course, once that is done the next step will be how do we integrate this. Thank you.
>> RAJESHREE DUTTA KUMAR: I think Mr. Singh has already covered all the points that I really wanted to cover, but I think the supply and demand aspect that he has already beautifully elaborated. Two issues, one is the technical part which we already discussed in our previous set of question discussion. We have done that. About intraoperability and organizing the metadata or the standards that we may have one standard across. When there is a country with a very intense diversity. So the challenges are much more higher there. So that's one aspect of it and the other is the mindset. Perhaps the capacity building exercises, workshops and sharing of best practices are the ways where we can actually think of kind of having a shared vision about open data. Thank you.
>> CHRISTOPHER CORBIN: Thank you panel. The input from the Spanish Government for this question is the IGF could be a Forum where a common set of shared high level principles could be discussed and developed. Other international and regional fora could take these principles as a starting point. Is anything remote, Keisha?
>> KEISHA TAYLOR: No. There isn't.
>> CHRISTOPHER CORBIN: Okay. The input from the British Government for this question, the first point is agreed set of open data principles that would underpin the global approach to information. The United Nations could invite countries to contribute, examples of best practices in data, licensry and inventory and regulatory frameworks and this would form the basis of practical guidance and standards that would form the basis of templates on which countries could base national practice. And the third point they have made it is important to establish clear criteria against which success should be measured. Clarity on what the process of assessment would be and who would be assessing is essential.
Open now to the debate back to the floor for question 2. Who would like to start? Yes.
>> BEVIL WOODING: Bevil Wooding. I have been doing outreach in the Caribbean region with regard to awareness in the use of and importance of open data. I think the issue raised by the panelist in this particular question builds upon on what was commented earlier in terms of requirement for there to be relevant participation, particularly from those of countries that have not yet fully embraced or understood open data. If we have to move toward an open data global policy of any kind. I want to echo the sentiments expressed by my colleague from Somalia, is it, who said that we have to start doing something. And I really feel and in working with the Trinidad and Tobago Government, practical models of how open data applies to government is a part of what open Government is. Part of what my NGO does is we create an application that can be used by civil society and by government. And in doing so we are communicating to Government that you are sitting on a gold mine. And that gold mine is a public resource.
Open data fits in that context because it is part of Government's responsibility to make this information available to citizens. And Governments particularly in resource constrained environments don't always have the capacity to take advantage of the information that they own and hold in public trust. That's how we have been communicating the environment for open data policies at an international level. Because we understand it will not achieve or receive national attention until there is some proof of concept and why must scarce public resource and attention be applied to it. I wanted to reenforce the need to have No. 1, Multi‑Stakeholder participation as part of the ‑‑
>> CHRISTOPHER CORBIN: Can you activate it? Can you hear, Jim?
>> Jim: Yes, I can hear you. Can you hear me?
>> CHRISTOPHER CORBIN: Yes. Please go ahead.
>> Jim: Yes, I can hear you.
>> CHRISTOPHER CORBIN: Would you like to make a response to some of the items you have heard so far, please?
>> Jim: First of all, my apologies to the technical difficulties we have had. (Off microphone). I think there is some ‑‑ I think there is some key issues around public sector function and it needs to be recognized that there are countries where perhaps make progress at different speeds. But I think what we do have ‑‑ (Off microphone) about the impact on public sector organizations and what resources need to be enhancing to deliver this. (Off microphone). And that there isn't an awful lot of impact as to public sector which (Off microphone) best practice where we start (Off microphone) (audio not clear). Not to be alarmed in terms of making sure ‑‑
>> CHRISTOPHER CORBIN: Sorry, Jim, you are actually ‑‑
>> CHRISTOPHER CORBIN: Anybody else? Yes.
>> BEVIL WOODING: Once again on the technical involvement of the technical community we have to be careful in how the community is engaged because what may start off as a small private project can essentially become the de facto standard for data access, particularly in the smaller countries. Going back to the issue of public awareness and general knowledge of emerging best practices in developing open data applications and services is going to be key. So that those who are taking the lead, particularly entrepreneur forward thinking civil society groups are aware of what the use cases are in other markets. So those can be applied in creating innovations in their own local territories.
>> CHRISTOPHER CORBIN: Thank you. Can I ask the panel members whether any of you would like to respond to what you just heard?
>> Just to comment. I think we ‑‑ at the moment we don't have a good platform to share good practices in this field. Many of us use FC plus from the European Union but I ‑‑ which also includes some cases from outside Europe but it would be nice to have a really global platform for PS, good practices and ideas both from emerging countries and from countries who have already have more experience. That would be certainly quite useful tool.
>> ABHISHEK SINGH: For the underlying theme, there is no two questions with regard to the need for a policy but how to go about it, that is critical and building of awareness and capacity building at all levels will be the key to. And those countries who have gone ahead, whether the OECD or whoever it is, they would need to share the learnings they have and the standards they have developed which will be open for people to review and adopt if it suits them. But these things will have to be shared through maybe a platform or a global repository which some institution, either UN or IGF somebody will have to come forward and say we are opening up this common data exchange.
>> CHRISTOPHER CORBIN: Before I move on to the last question can I just ask all of those of you who are here from Africa, from the African continent what the question is to you which African body would you actually suggest you work with to try and develop those? We have had some suggestions from the gentleman over here. Are there any others?
>> I think we are talking about a global.
>> CHRISTOPHER CORBIN: We are. But the steps might be regional.
>> You have to look at the approach that will be consistent across the globe. So I mean if you decide ‑‑ say you are going to go for African union or Economic Commission for Africa. It means that you are going be mirroring a similar approach in other regions. So I would find it very difficult to make any clear recommendation on that. I think that the open Government partnership really gives us the location for the discussion. You know people are signing up to it. It has got a lot of media attention. High profile. This for me is a global partnership that is the right location for the discussion.
>> CHRISTOPHER CORBIN: Thank you. Any other input before we move to the next question? Okay. We are going to move on to question 3 now then for the panel first. And the question is for them to rank three items which are key. In other words, prioritize what actions would be or what parts of the policy would you address first. Start with Anne please.
>> ANNE FITZGERALD: One thing I think is important to make clear in moving ahead with the open Government data agenda is that it is not necessary to work up a fully fledged freedom of information or right to information system to ‑‑ in order to be able to progress with this. So rather than putting a lot of effort, time and resources in to developing a right to information system which I guess takes up a lot of resources, you can actually move ahead with the open Government agenda in a much more straightforward way.
Now some fundamental things that I think would have to be part of any policy ‑‑
>> ANNE FITZGERALD: So information technology standards. So we are really talking about building something that sits on top of an underlying platform that's already established. I think if we don't do that it is very hard to bring everything in to an open Government data policy.
The other thing that's important is to look at ways of removing those and one of the areas in which I have been most (Off microphone).
>> During that process I think it is very important to create a vibrant community of developers, people from the community, citizens, also academics and the business community, of course. So that you have kind of self‑organized community of people who care about open Government data and to take this idea further. And scale up. And the second point I would make is that PSI somehow needs to be linked to national innovation policy. At the moment most Governments put this in to the IT departments but it is not about IT. It is about information. And so the whole PSI for me is a service innovation or the user generates the innovation because it only lives if the users come up with ideas and ‑‑
>> Many civil servants still think that they are ‑‑ they are kind of afraid of releasing the data or they think the data is not high quality. We ‑‑ there are many obstacles and in the mindset of civil servants to release data and we need to have more trainings to increase the awareness on what's the benefit of doing it for the whole community. Thank you.
>> ABHISHEK SINGH: Well, I would say that first and foremost principle if we decide to embrace open data and open government policy is to realize that it is not about technology. It is not about building a data.gov portal. It is more about a fundamental policy change which makes the Government believe that whatever information it has, whatever data it has has to be shared with the citizens at the population at large. This development infrastructure across the world and given issues to access of diversity that we have in the Internet domains and the Internet age we have I would still feel the need for the right information policy, right systems for giving information to people will be something which will be required as a first step.
There are many countries which if they start putting data in to open domain they would face challenges of access and people who do not have access. They would be deprived of that information. The right thing would be to first have right to information framework. To ensure that yes, whatever we are going to do with an open Government, open Forum is in our policy framework, in the legislation, laws in the regulations that we have. And then, of course, move on to one set ‑‑ once that information, the Government decides in principle I am willing to share all information we have with citizens the next step would be to make information available in an open platform. Fundamental level changes, institution changes which should be something that should proceed the development of an open Government or open data platform.
The second most important thing is that data has to be linked to service. How does this putting of data in an open domain actually benefit the citizens and the customers of the Government. This would require releasing not only data but also APIs or tools with which this data can be analyzed and allowing people to build up applications which will help deliver for services. Government can do for the public service as its own but should allow the private sector, entrepreneurs to use this data that will help in rendering more services.
And the third which has already been mentioned by my fellow panelists is the need for awareness building with regard to advantages of open Government or open data system and even the public entities so that everyone involved with the holding of data we are trained and equipped to be able to make, analyze data and put up in to organize and put it up in a format which is useable for citizens and work on a change management programs to ensure that the initial changes that are required wherein the thought that data belongs to the Government and no to the people that change is brought up. These three are the key fundamental issues I would say that need to be addressed to begin with.
>> RAJESHREE DUTTA KUMAR: At the outset I would really like to mention that we have to understand that the Government does not ‑‑ many of us have the perception and we believe that the Government owns the data. The Government does not own the data and with this assumption I would like to put across first the Government, the decision makers in the Governments across various departments, I will be speaking in the Indian context, they need to be convinced that open data is for the public good. And once accepted there has to be a detailed roadmap that needs to be sketched out for transition for open data to the public domain. At the other level we have to see that the demand is created. The need for having an open data is created and can be created only through the capacity building workshops. And we have to use a lot of public fora for sharing the information, the benefits and how ‑‑ and the mashing of the data which kind of gives greater advantage to the public good at large.
And there was a third point, there was one more point, I have been kind of emphatic on the fact there has to be an intraoperability and not all those proprietary and licenses that are required. At some point it is required for us to ensure that the data, the privacy or the security, I mean those issues are there. We have to ensure mechanisms for but they need to be available in open format for everyone to use for mashing the data and for leveraging on the data.
>> CHRISTOPHER CORBIN: Thank you panel members. Next I would just like to read you what the Spanish Government input is to this. And some of the points they would make. Start with cultural change within the public organization. This is key. Then start with what you have, allow the reuse of already published information. And the next one is progressively embed reuse and open data policies in your organization, improving issues such as intraoperability, formats and description and identification of reusable data.
The next one they suggest is assign responsibilities on reuse in each public organization. Always work with your private sector and civil society, take advantage of new interaction tools with civil society and private and public sector and building an open Stakeholder community. Establish default rules, favorable to reuse authorization. Simple and easy reuse conditions, brackets, licensing, and charge no or minimal fees. And the last point they make is define strategies addressing possible threats of a new digital divide between those who are able to understand, combine and reuse open data and those who are not.
The British input, British Government input to this question is the first point they would make is proactive release of data and information in reusable formats. The second one they make is clear and open license standards with most information being available for reuse at marginal cost. That is no charge in most cases. And the third point they make is the process should be transparent and open to challenge. In particular there should be an underpinning regulatory and complaint process. I can see from the four panelists and the two inputs from Spain and the UK you can start to actually see commonality beginning to appear. Now I would like to open it up to the audience. Who would like to start?
>> Thank you very much for ‑‑ I am sorry about missing the first bit of it. I went over to another room by mistake. But so perhaps my question you might have already addressed this issue. I am just curious. So I appreciate all the issues that you have laid out but what I haven't heard in this short period that I have been here is any discussion about the sort of target populations that you expect to be using the data. And if you think it is necessary at this point from the very beginning to start thinking about inclusion or marginalized communities and how they can use this, they can use this data. Thank you.
>> CHRISTOPHER CORBIN: Lady in the back. Need to come to a microphone, please. Give your name first. Thank you.
>> MARIA HOON: Two small questions. Recently I was in a least developing country talking with statistical agency people there and their concern seems to be, you know, we have been selling our data and that's how we sustain ourselves. Can you offer us an economic model so that we can open up our data and still be able to sustain ourselves because that's a requirement by authorities? No. 2, I would like to have some advice on if you are approaching open Government data in the developing country, what sort of agencies would you go and knock on doors? Is it the statistical agencies? Ministry of Finance? ICT? Is it the finance or higher councils? And I would like to benefit from experience. Thank you.
>> CHRISTOPHER CORBIN: Could you just give your name.
>> MARIA HOON: I was IDRC. I am Maria Hoon from the Singapore office of IDRC.
>> CHRISTOPHER CORBIN: Any other inputs?
>> Okay. Yes, I think that we are hitting on some fundamentals here, things which we could work on which are design principles first for data and I think that that is something that we can negotiate together. We can start but not that it has to be a formal agreement that people have signed to, because as some of the panelists have mentioned if we don't get that fundamental right it will be very difficult to fix later on when we actually want to start sharing, you know, across ‑‑ cross‑border let's put it that way. But I would like the panelists to comment on some of the very iffy issues to do with open data. Issues to do with citizen privacy. And issues to do with commercial agreements that we have seen as problematic in some of the context which are already far advanced. I see this to be one of the most tricky areas as we go for cross‑border sharing because different countries have very different approaches to this and notions around this. You know, these are some of the things which will become tricky as we negotiate.
>> CHRISTOPHER CORBIN: Thank you. Give your name.
>> DANIEL OMONDI: Thank you very much. I appreciate the discussion on open data. In Kenya, Kenya Government took initiative to have open data and it is really ‑‑ there is still some little bit of work on there. Because we ‑‑ if you look at it, the Government believes that if they release the data so much to the consumers, it will expose them. So they preferably tried to conceal some of the data which is very useful to the cities and all consumers on the other end. For example, you may want like the ‑‑ open data will help in agricultural center or even in transports industry. But sometimes the Government doesn’t give all the details. They try to conceal the informations to the citizens and also they try to make it look like what the government is doing is much better than ‑‑ it be improved to be much better than what they are saying. So I think there is still a loophole which needs to be rectified. If you look at open data the consumers in the developing countries, you find that they cannot even reach a place where they can access that data which needs to be addressed in this Forum. I think we can ‑‑ because of the energy issues you find that those who can access Internet, for example, in developing countries they are affected by the supply of energy. So the information which they should be able to get at the tip of their fingers cannot reach them because of the insufficient energy. So that's another point I think we need to check on this for. And also there is a lady who raised from the IDRC who raised an important issue. In open data we need to know what the Governments in developing countries. They try to look at development partners. But I think we need to address the issue of when we are dealing with open data is it the Government only to deal with or we have other agencies within the country. Thank you.
>> CHRISTOPHER CORBIN: Could you just give your name for the record, please?
>> DANIEL OMONDI: Thank you. My name is Daniel Omondi. I work for Dotto Computer in Nairobi.
>> CHRISTOPHER CORBIN: Gentleman over here.
>> ANDY SMITH: Hi. Andy Smith from the British Computer Society, but I actually do quite a lot of work in Government. One of the things that comes across to me, I mean if you take the developing countries like the U.S. ‑‑ developed countries like the U.S., Germany, UK we have now got thousands and thousands of pages of information, knowledge, real information assets that we are now putting up online and we have got sort of an open policy. So we are now putting up more and more information. But what I am wondering is if there is a way of actually making this available in a more coherent fashion to developing countries so that they can learn from our mistakes rather than having to relearn or rego through all of the things that we have been through.
If you look at a lot of the stuff we have done in finance, in developing healthcare, social wealth, a lot of that information is now being made available, now being put up online. But how can we share that? How can we make it available to developing countries in such a way that they can use it and they can speed up their development through using that ‑‑ those information assets and that knowledge that we have already developed and paid for.
>> CHRISTOPHER CORBIN: Thank you. Anybody else before I pass it back to the panel to comment? Okay. If I could ask the panel, do you have comments? Would you like to comment on what you just heard, please?
>> I just want to comment on the question on the target population. I think that's a very good question because we ‑‑ if we don't manage to create applications that are interesting for a large portion of the population, then PSI will remain a very hot topic for few insiders but it will not really have a large reach. One of the most popular applications in PSI seems to be traffic information and I think that everyone is using some kind of transport medium most days. So I think from the experience that we see from countries that have PSI already in place everything around realtime traffic data, realtime transport information is very successful and you only need your relatively simple mobile phone to access this kind of information. And the immediate usefulness of that application is quite clear. Yeah. But there are, of course, others. It is good to have an application that makes immediate sense to a lot of people and then you can build other applications which may be more focused on particular populations. Thank you.
>> ABHISHEK SINGH: In fact, on the same issue I said that was one of the challenges which many countries face is that once you go for an open data framework and open Government policy is that you are serving only a particular section. Are the people who do not have access, who do not have access to basic information and infrastructure, are they being denied that information. That's one of the three points which we are supposed to emphasize. First to have the information policy which gives a citizen a right whether he has access to information infrastructure in the electronic format or he should have a right to get the data information which it desires even the manual format. That can be the beginning point, because that will reenforce the policy the Government has that yes, the data which is there with us, we are just the custodian, whether he was living in remote area or area that doesn't have access to power or connectivity he has access to that and the ultimate goal of building and providing all data through a network in electronic format that will be achieved.
Inclusiveness of all systems of IT is importance. In India we face this problem. A lot of our villages do not have access to reliable connectivity or power supply. We have Kiosks that are spread out in the rural areas and provide access. Citizens are able to access these services at these centers. So that is what we do.
The second point which I would like address is with regard to the query with regard to building a business model for the least developed countries which might generally feel that it is their data and if their data is being used by developers from other countries who will build applications and who will build revenue model out of that data. These are issues that the individual countries will need to address. They won't have a community who will use this data to earn revenue from. They will have to build in policies with regard to how this revenue sharing is built up. So that anyone who is using your data to build up a business case or to build up a revenue model in which an application or delivers service by ‑‑ he might have to share that with the Government. The cost of access of these services will go up. Because if the countries share are getting a part of revenue.
So each individual Government will have to take a call on that. If in principle they feel if their data is used for driving revenue demand a share from that. The other question, Dorothy mentioned in regard to issues privacy and commercial agreement. Privacy is something in many ways a cultural issue. What might be considered in the domain of privacy in one community or one country might not be so in another country or community. That brings us to the issue of need for national policies to begin with and how we are going to address privacy issues. And then try to see is there a common minimum standard with regard to privacy issues which can be part of global policy framework. The need for to have a national roadmap or policy working on what extent we will be partnering with the global policy or open data that will have to be taken in to account. There are no answers to this, but I would say each country will have to look in to their own privacy issues and concerns and make sure that is addressed once they move on to open data.
So each entity, each Stakeholder in the whole game for open Government and open data will have to ensure that they safeguard their own interests and the benefit comes from open data with regard to the revenue which will drive from this sector will have to be shared equally between the Stakeholders.
>> CHRISTOPHER CORBIN: Any other panel member like to comment? No. I'd like to come back to the statistical point. I will give you two examples. First is the Australian statistical body. They actually switched away from charging, went over to free use. Brought in a series of applications to help. What actually happened inside the organization their costs went down. So which is one of the points which is being made, that this is a way of reducing costs within the public sector. Another example is the Euro stat, the European statistical body which collects all the statistics which you may be familiar with. They used to charge. They also reversed that situation and suddenly the data took off. It was being used and that was exactly the same in Australia. Now to give you another example which is not statistical but it is actually to do with (inaudible) this is about land registration. If you look at the Spanish Cadastre, over a number of seven or eight years they have slowly evolved the process. What they did first ‑‑ I want to make a qualifying statement, the Spanish Cadastre reports to the finance ministry. So this has the financial backing.
What they did is made all their data free online to anybody. So that was the first step. And that took awhile to do. So what that immediately did and those of you who are interested in green policies with regards to IT it has cut out all people traveling to places to register in an office and all sorts of things like that. That has taken off. As that took off the entrepreneurs who started to use this information to add extra services said what we need is not a single shot. Look at each land registration parcel or property registration. What we would like is regular bulk updates and we would like to pay for that particular service even though the data is free. The Spanish Cadastre has implemented that during this year. They have brought on the entrepreneur site who needs regular updates of that information. There are a lot of examples around where, when you look at them you can actually see benefits on both sides of the interface, of the public sector side itself and on the wider community. So if you want any more information please contact me. Now the point about privacy, both the European Union directive if you read it actually says this policy of public sector information reuse is dependent upon and then it lists other legislation.
And the first one is the European Union data protection law. OECD principles are exactly the same. They say you have to comply with these other areas. So it is not a free for all. Now what's difficult is that when you apply these rules in an open data context, and you say you are on the public sector body side, I will release this for open use, it is not actually for anything that would identify a data subject in it. When it is mashed with other data then it starts to become identifiable of a data subject. And that can be done by all sorts of means because people produce applications which use newspapers. So all they do is look at newspapers, look to see what sort of things are going on and they capture that. And it is all geo located. Before you know it you know where it is. In small rural communities most people know most everything that's going on in that community anyway. So there are lots of different aspects to how you deal with privacy which are beyond the data protection law in itself.
But there are many questions you are raising and there are many good examples around and, of course, there are some which are negative to what you said. And if you take the European Union and the database on the European PSI platform you would, in fact, find different countries in the European Union are applying the process differently. So if you take in one country, let's take the Spanish Cadastre. You can find out who owns that land parcel. If you go to another country in the European Union, they say you can't get that. Because it is a data subject and lots of those sorts of things. Hence the need that why you begin to need a regional policy and a global policy because you need to start to harmonize it. Otherwise the entrepreneurs can't use the information. As soon as they cross a boundary they have hit another set of issues and they can't make their application function. It is a very big subject which we could talk about forever. We are running out of time. I would like to go back to the panel to ask each of them to give us one quick point to sum up.
>> ANNE FITZGERALD: It is what I would say is ‑‑ it is a complex area but things are moving really quite rapidly and I think from my own experience is that what we can say is that different countries, different states will achieve advances in different ways. So, for example, we have achieved a lot of advance by using the simplified open content licensing. Look at how different countries, different states, different organizations achieve, advance and I think we can learn from each other.
>> Okay. I think PSI is one of the greatest opportunities for public sector innovation that we had in the past years. And I think we are just at the beginning of this new conversation and new engagement between Government agencies and the society and citizens. And we need to have much more fantasy and interesting ideas to create these initiatives like bar cams and mashups where people create and prototype many, many ideas in a very, very short time and I think it is not like open the data and they will come. That's happened to many European countries that they have PSI policy in place but nothing happens. We need to create a lot of excitement and engagement around this whole process to get all these good ideas out that are in the community.
>> ABHISHEK SINGH: Well, I must say that open Government is something that is a way to go and Governments today or tomorrow embrace it. Important things that we will need to address will be how open data helps in better delivery of services and how it drives innovation and allows entrepreneurs to build applications around the data, improving service. And the way to go for a policy framework around that, the beginnings I would say has already been made with the open data partnership, open Government partnership which has been initiated. 38 countries are already part of that and very soon other countries will join in and what it should do is put in the open domain, the metadata standards and the standards with regard to various datasets that have been involved and standardized. When it decides to embrace open Government they go ahead and adopt similar metadata standards so the varying standards around data across countries does not become a bottleneck for entrepreneurs to development applications so they can work across regions and across countries.
>> RAJESHREE DUTTA KUMAR: There is no denial that open data has huge advantages for the Government and for the public at large. I would suggest that as a civil society organization how best we can avail the public information data for the ‑‑ I mean for the Stakeholders and how best can we use ‑‑ reuse and distribute the data and it has to ‑‑ it can only happen when we have the data in a manner that can be accessed by a common individual and that can be used for the larger good. And that's where the effective e‑governance lies. Thank you.
>> CHRISTOPHER CORBIN: Thank you panel and there is no input from the Spanish Government on this particular one. You have one? You wrote one, Keisha?
>> KEISHA TAYLOR: I have a remote comment from Jorge and he says that PSI is a big community. Cultural change will be a key challenge but social and economic benefits is huge.
>> CHRISTOPHER CORBIN: That's from Spain, isn't it? The British Government's final point they would like to make is the spread of open data offers huge potential in terms of economic benefit and democratic engagement. An encouraging aspect is that public sectors, organizations across the world do not have to incur vast expenses or resources to fulfill this potential nor are we embarking on a voyage in to the unknown. There are numerous examples across the world that can be easily adapted and followed.
So that's all the input we have. We have run out of time. But I now would like to take you back to the background document. If you haven't read it you might want to read it. It has the data protection law, development of e‑Government, geo spatial. That's why we actually included these in here and we took it in from the United Nations perspective of what the United Nations monitors. We didn't take it from the European perspective or a North American perspective. We looked at it from the global side downwards, what the United Nations perceived. And those of you who are watchers of the United Nations and the World Bank will know that they have themselves adopted open data policies and they are developing those for the benefit of all.
I would like to thank all of you for your participation. I would really like to thank each member of the panel for your contributions. What will happen next is we will produce the report from this meeting. That will go up on the IGF Website for the ‑‑ this workshop. I will probably also edit or correct the transcript. So if ‑‑ when I publish that as an attachment to this workshop report please if I have got anything that ‑‑ like a name spelled wrong or anything like that, please feel free to contact me. I don't mind. We all make mistakes. So thanks again. Show your appreciation to everyone in the room.