CSS researchers Jennifer Giroux and Elgin Brunner note that many states recognize that not all threats can be averted and emphasize efforts to enhance the flexibility of technical tools as well as society as a whole. Specifically, they focus on the use of modern technologies such as mobile phones and social media in order to effectively communicate with the population. The fact sheet includes case studies and lays out implications for Switzerland’s civil defense.
San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom announced that his city will provide crime, health and other municipal data on an online portal and make it free to use for anyone.
Sporting a fashionable “beta” in its logo, all datasets are available at datasf.org.
From restaurant guides accessing health code ratings to navigation systems updating the status of roadblocks, the datasets open the way for applications giving more detailed information to citizens or tourists in the bay area.
Even though the available number of datasets is low at the beginning (about 100 datasets are available), it is expected to increase, creating even more possibilities for creative and informative uses.
The data includes a whole range of topics and forms, such as data on crime incidents, list of street trees or geographical data on road center lines. Uses could include, but are not limited to investigating whether your new apartment is in a crime area or not or helping policymakers make informed decisions on road construction by being able to find dangerous intersections.
Advantages of opening the data to anyone are manyfold:
- Users might develop new applications or mashups no one has thought about.
- It leads to more transparency of the city government and its decisions.
- Private users might get the data out to the general public more quickly than the traditional city council.
This move is in line with many other projects aimed at opening government data.
A quick overview:
While all this is exciting news for proponents of open government, even more exciting is the fact that other cities are mulling over opening up their data as well. These include Vancouver, Canada, Birmingham, UK and New York.
A very good overview can be found on David Eaves’ blog entry “The Rise of the Open City“.
In one of the whiniest tirades I’ve read written by anyone over 3 feet tall, the European Publishers Council released the the so-called “Hamburg Declaration on Intellecutal Property Rights” in June.
temper tantrum Declaration was signed by around 160 publishers and was meant to prompt the European Commission into action, calling on it to improve the “protection of intellectual property on the [i]nternet.”
Some gems from the document:
Numerous providers are using the work of authors, publishers and broadcasters without paying for it. Over the long term, this threatens the production of high-quality content and the existence of independent journalism.
I won’t even get into how this is totally not true. Oh by the way, signatories included folks from the Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times Group, Ringier and Axel Springer….all bastions of independent journalism.
There should be no parts of the Internet where laws do not apply.
Legislators and governments at the national and international level should protect more effectively the intellectual creation of value by authors, publishers and broadcasters. Unauthorized use of intellectual property must remain prohibited whatever the means of distribution.
Yikes. I didn’t ask permission to cut and paste. Sorry y’all.
In any case, Google was one of the first to respond to the EPC’s call with a helpful hint: Exclude yourself from Google.