First we brainstormed best and worst experiences with Government data:
Frustrations with Open Government
- IE4 required to use election website (2010)
- Opaque development leading to preventable problems (e.g. healthcare.gov)
- Owners/stakeholders hoarding or being secretive with information
- Closed source voting software (Diebolt/Eagle machines)
- Provided government data being provided online but nearly impossible to extract into a useful form.
- Metadata being removed from online published information that existed in original documents.
- Paying traffic fines (local)
- GIS Website and Information
- California Voter Guides
- Oakland, See/Click/Fix to fix potholes
- Immediate disclosure requests (24 hour response time, 10 days maximum)
- Eviction mapping to show lack and losing of affordable housing
- Public Transportation mapping
- Information Disclosure Requests
- Larry Lessig
- Sunlight Foundation
- Mapped crime data in Durham (drives property values, police coverage)
- Shot Spotter: Targets gunshots city-wide. Provides security, but microphone privacy concerns.
Once these specific examples were defined. We abstracted them into concepts.
Abstractions of Bad experiences
- Proprietary software
- Organizational problems
- Lack of tech savviness
- Lack of actual information or research
Abstractions of Good experiences
- Defined and well-known user stories (focus)
- Simple/straightforward (don't get creative!)
- Education (Public information reduces violation)
Abstractions of Ambivalent experiences
- Reflects existing inequalities
Recommendations for Background Reading on Open Government
- "The Open Organization" by Red Hat
- "San Fransisco Sunshine Ordinance" Ordinance Code 67 is the gold standard in information acts
- Contact or interview Megan Smith (White House CTO), Jennifer Pahlka (Code for America)
- Sunlight Foundation (what is left of it, shut down but transitioning)
- The Internet Archive
- Raw "weather data" published online by governments is great
- Businesses then spring up around analyzing/delivering that information to the public
- In South Africa, you can't ask for related "information" you can only ask for existing "documents".
- In California, you have information requests, which includes raw data or records.