The New Ambiguity of 'Open Government'

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Citation: Harlan Yu, David Robinson (2012-02-28) The New Ambiguity of 'Open Government'. UCLA Law Review Discourse (RSS)



Download: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2012489

Tagged: open government (RSS), open data (RSS), transparency (RSS), adaptability (RSS), e-government (RSS), government 2.0 (RSS), Internet (RSS), executive branch (RSS)


Summary:

"Open government", first used in 1950s debates leading to the US Freedom of Information Act, used to refer to politically sensitive disclosure. Technology has blurred this meaning. "Open Government Data" might refer to "open government" data, which is politically sensitive and a tool for accountability, or merely any data provided by government.

Two dimensions: service delivery data (eg transit schedules), public accountability data on one, adaptable data and inert data on a second.

First appearance of "open data" in policy context was 1970s.

1990s brought first joining of "open government" and "open data". In the case of 1998 launch of OpenSecrets.org, open data serving traditional open government purpose.

Well into 2000s, "open government" term usually denoted fresh disclosures rather than technologically enhanced access to already public data.

Obama transition team's Technology, Innovation & Government Reform Policy Working Group charter focused on technology, not accountability. A private group's 2007 "Open Government Principles" focused on open data from government, not open government. Implementation of open data at US federal level, US localities, and elsewhere (eg EU) has tended toward technology focus rather than accountability focus. "Open Government Partnership" spreading new, broad conception of open government worldwide.

Authors propose using two dimensions above to talk about various initiatives, keeping distinction between accountability, service provision, and adaptability of data separate, and making it easier to achieve all.