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November 9, 2012
There's a background of discussion currently taking place in corporate and government circles on data polcies, governing data use, data access, and data licensing. I'm seeing this discussion in e-learning circles, on online government and media sites (like this one), and even more and more in my day-to-day activities in my day job. This particular post reviews Ontario's new Open Data portal from the perspective of data policy, drawing out its relation to the UK’s Open Government License, the British Columbia license and the proposed Canadian Open Government License. It has its criticisms: in particular David Eaves is concerned that there's no guarantee the data are clear of any possible third party copyright, moral right, other intellectual property right or other claim. "Basically this line kills the possibility that any business, non-profit or charity will ever use this data in any real sense," he says. He's also concerned about a clause saying "your use of the Datasets causes no harm to others." What counts as 'harm' could be interpreted very broadly, he notes.
[Comment] [Direct Link] [Tags: Great Britain, Portals, Patents, Copyrights, Canada, Online Learning]
June 13, 2012
In an interview today I mentioned the difference of opinion between Treasury Board and Canada Post about the disposition of postal code data. "The Ottawa Citizen ran a story in which I'm quoted about a fight between Treasury Board and Canada Post officials over making postal code data open. Treasury Board officials would love to add it to data.gc.ca while Canada post officials are, to put it mildly, deeply opposed." I am with Treasury Board on this one - postal code data should be openly accessible.
[Comment] [Direct Link] [Tags: Accessibility, Canada]
I think the open data is going to become an education story. David Eaves writes, "this is the real hope. That a whole new category of winners emerges. That the barrier to use for software developers, entrepreneurs, students, academics, smaller companies and non-profits will be lowered in a manner that will enable a larger community to make use of the data and therefor create economic or social goods." I agree. Just think of the value open government data could have inside educational offerings.
[Comment] [Direct Link] [Tags: none]
Although Shaw has retracted a bit and clarified its intent, what we still see here is a cable provider employing usage based billing (UBB) in order to give itself a competitive advantage. To compete against Netflix, it has announced its own movie-on-demand service - but says that streaming its movies will not count against the (arbitrarily low) bandwidth cap. This, as David Eaves says, breaks what works about the internet. "The very reason the internet has been such an amazing part of our lives is that every service that is delivered on it is treated equally." See also Michael Geist, who makes it clear that it's competition, not congestion, that is driving providers into the usage based billing debate.
[Comment] [Direct Link] [Tags: Bandwidth, Canada]
It's still a blank slate, but the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) 'open data' page is a good omen (and I'd like to see similar pages for all other government departments). As the Minister says, " Donors and partner countries must be accountable to their citizens, absolutely, but both must also be accountable to each other. Transparency underpins these accountabilities.... The Open Data portal will put our country strategies, evaluations, audits and annual statistical and results reports within easy reach." But it's more than just accountability. Putting this information into the open also plays a key educational role. It allows people outside government circles to be able to see how projects are designed and managed. This helps them prepare themselves for similar work either with government or with other agencies.
[Comment] [Direct Link] [Tags: Project Based Learning, Portals, Canada]
March 20, 2011
Canada has launched an open data portal, which is good news in itself. But, as David Eaves, it could have taken a few pointers on its licensing. "The license on data.gc.ca is deeply, deeply flawed. Some might go so far as to say that the license does not make it data open at all - a critique that I think is fair. I would say this: presently the open data license on data.gc.ca effectively kills any possible business innovation, and severally limits the use in non-profit realms." Overstatement? Consider this clause: "you shall not use the data made available through the GC Open Data Portal in any way which, in the opinion of Canada, may bring disrepute to or prejudice the reputation of Canada." 'Canada', of course, being the government in power. Tsk. See also Michael Geist.
[Comment] [Direct Link] [Tags: Portals, Canada]
February 25, 2011
Wonder how much journalism is simply churn from press releases and other sources? Sometimes it seems like all of it is. This website, Churnalism, sadly limited to the UK, makes it clear how much of the news we read in our daily paper (or news site online) is simply recycled from press releases. And - I would add - given that these press release shops are set up specifically to propagate political messages, the lack of oversight in churnalism is disappointing indeed.
[Comment] [Direct Link] [Tags: Great Britain]