Civic Awesome: Open Data In The News For October 10, 2014
Lots of highs and one (unfortunate) low, as we span the globe for this week’s top open data news stories.
Following a request to President Enrique Peña during last week’s UN General Assembly, Mexico has agreed to commit to open data, according to executive secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America, Alicia Barcena. The Mexican government will sign an agreement which extends the open data initiative to its states and municipalities. This makes Mexico the 65th country and the 15th Latin America nation to pledge to embrace open data.
In the UK, the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) and Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) have issued a joint set of case studies on how emerging technologies are improving public transportation and cutting costs. The report, which looks at smartphone apps, Bluetooth systems, and other transit planning aides was written in response to the UK’s Department of Transport turning off its own transportation information website in favor of applications developed by others. The study stresses the need for good open data standards, appropriate privacy protections, and more widespread connectivity in order to fully realize the potential for better transportation services.
Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole is crediting a 13% reduction in crime to SeaStat, which allow “political officials and prosecutors to use crime data and technology to identify trends, develop enforcement strategies, and measure success.” The program was instituted when O’Toole came into the position after spikes in robberies, assaults, and domestic violence cases and also includes community engagement with the Police Department.
The Canadian government is issuing a new order to ensure that federal departments provide more information about their plans to open data, publish inventories of available data, and release data under unrestrictive licenses. The order also calls for the establishment of an open data institute and marketplace for apps and otherwise commercialized open data.
The State of Florida is using state laws, which allow (but do not require) it to charge high fees for access to public information, to stonewall the Center for Public Integrity from obtaining procedures and policies on foreclosure cases in its 17th Circuit. Despite Florida legal code requiring “any fees charged for public records be reasonable,” it is asking for over $132,000 for the requested documentation.