26 November 2009

Of Government 2.0, Open Source and Open Data

Great to see this in Australian Senator Kate Lundy's big speech "Government 2.0: co-designing a better democracy":

Open source software as an example of another, often less thought of opportunity for open and transparent government is through the tools we choose to use. Software underpins almost everything we do, whether it be for work, play or creative endeavour. To be able to scrutinise software – to see the human readable instructions and trust it has, if you will – becomes almost a democratic issue, for many in the technology community.


So we consider that the time is now right to build on our record of fairness and achievement and to take further positive action to ensure that Open Source products are fully and fairly considered throughout government IT; to ensure that we specify our requirements and publish our data in terms of Open Standards; and that we seek the same degree of flexibility in our commercial relationships with proprietary software suppliers as are inherent in the open source world.

There's also good stuff on open data:

as has been evident in the US for many years, open access to government data can dramatically increase the value created from the data both socially and economically. This means the society as a whole benefits from access to the data.
Public sector information ought to be available in the public not just to facilitate innovation in the public and private spheres, but to enable individual citizens to make informed choices.

Just to be clear, I am not talking about personal information that we expect to be private and secure. I am talking about general information about the places we live, the environment we live in, the things we do as a society.
A general policy of openness in this area would create a culture of scrutiny and collaboration rather than a culture of secrecy.

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