[open-government] [DW] Gurstein: Open Data: Empowering the Empowered or Effective Data Use for Everyone?
gurstein at gmail.com
Sun Sep 5 14:49:02 BST 2010
My own feeling as expressed in the blogpost is that open data is a necessary
element for a well functioning democracy but that access to data is
insufficient if there is a significant set of financial, skill or other
barriers to actually making effective use of that data. There is thus the
need to extend the movement for "open data" to include making available the
means for making use of the data particularly by those who are already
economically, socially, educationally marginalized.
That most people don't use government data is not surprising, most people
have no need... What is crucial is that those people who do have a need, the
people in Solana County in California or in Zanesville/Coal Town in Ohio as
pointed to in the blogpost or in Berners-Lee's presentation, for example,
have the means both to access and to use the necessary data.
From: Content Research [mailto:contentissimo at chello.at]
Sent: Saturday, September 04, 2010 1:44 PM
To: clift at publicus.net; newswire; open-government at lists.okfn.org;
Cc: Michael Gurstein
Subject: Re: [DW] Gurstein: Open Data: Empowering the Empowered or Effective
Data Use for Everyone?
thats one of the past arguments why Governments continue
to charge for professional users as enterprises
since that cross-subsidiziation (towards the richt) would be unfair.
There are pros and cons for free data policy.
In fact 95 percent of the citizen do never use or re-use public data. The
figures of UK-groups with millions of members are not significant for any
other European country.
At 18:49 04.09.2010, Steven Clift wrote:
>An article that I highly recommended anyone pushing "open data"
>review. - Steve
>Also, join the int'l Digital Inclusion Network if you are interested in
>"effective use" of open data for inclusion: http://e-democracy.org/di
>... big clip ...
>A very interesting and well-documented example of this empowering of
>the empowered can be found in the work of Solly Benjamin and his
>colleagues looking at the impact of the digitization of land records in
>Bangalore. Their findings were that newly available access to land
>ownership and title information in Bangalore was primarily being put to
>use by middle and upper income people and by corporations to gain
>ownership of land from the marginalized and the poor. The newly
>digitized and openly accessible data allowed the well to do to take the
>information provided and use that as the basis for instructions to land
>surveyors and lawyers and others to challenge titles, exploit gaps in
>title, take advantage of mistakes in documentation, identify
>opportunities and targets for bribery, among others. They were able to
>directly translate their enhanced access to the information along with
>their already available access to capital and professional skills into
>unequal contests around land titles, court actions, offers of purchase
>and so on for self-benefit and to further marginalize those already
>Certainly the newly digitized information was "accessible" to all on an
>equal basis but the availability of resources to translate that
>"access" into a beneficial "effective use" was directly proportional to
>the already existing resources available to those to whom the access
>was being provided. The old story about the pauper and the millionaire
>having equal opportunity to purchase a printing press as a means to
>promote their interests can be seen as holding equally here as in the
>Benjamin's meticulously documented paper shows how the digitization and
>related digital access to land title records in Bangalore had the
>direct effect of shifting power and wealth to those with the financial
>resources and skills to use this information in self-interested ways.
>This is not to suggest that processes of computerization inevitably
>lead to such outcomes but rather to say that in the absence of efforts
>to equalize the playing field with respect to enabling opportunities
>for the use of newly available data, the end result may be increased
>social divides rather than reduced ones particularly with respect to
>the already poor and marginalized.
>As well, this is not to argue against "open data" which in fact is a
>very significant advance and support to broad-based democratic action
>and empowerment but rather to argue that in the absence of specific
>efforts to ensure the widest possible availability of the
>pre-requisites for "effective use" the outcome of "open data" may be
>quite the opposite to that which is anticipated (and presumably
>desired) by its strongest proponents.
>An "effective use" approach to open data would thus be one that ensured
>that opportunities and resources for translating this open data into
>useful outcomes would be available (and adapted) for the widest
>possible range of users. Thus, to ensure the effective use of open data
>a range of considerations needs to be included in the open data process
>and as elements in the open data movement including such factors as the
>cost and availability of Internet access, the language in which the
>data is presented, the technical or professional requirements for
>interpreting and making use of the data, the availability of training
>in data use and visualization, among others."
>Steven Clift - http://stevenclift.com
> Executive Director - http://E-Democracy.Org
> Follow me - http://twitter.com/democracy
> New Tel: +1.612.234.7072
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