Jon Udell interviews Greg Elin, chief info architect of the Sunlight Foundation, which aims to make the operation of Congress and the U.S. government more transparent and accountable. It’s interesting to follow this debate in the USA – where government data and reports are de facto public domain, though true access is a different story, compared with Canada where government data is often covered by restrictive copyright provisions (starting with Crown Copyright). Says Udell about the talk:
Having surveyed a wide range of government data sources, Gregâ€™s conclusion is that the future is already here, but not yet evenly distributed. There are pockets within the government where data management practices are excellent, and large swaths where they are mediocre to horrible. The Sunlight Foundation has an interesting take on how to bootstrap better data practices across the board. By demonstrating them externally, in compelling ways, you can incent the government to internalize them:
Some of that can be said here, but we are behind the curve, having a big hurdle to get over just convincing the Canadian government that the proved wisdom of US government data policy is compelling: making government data available spurs innovation. Restricting it restricts innovation.