One good thing about taxes is that they get citizens invested in government — literally. Taxpayers want to be sure that the government spends their money sensibly, but first they must know how their hard-earned cash gets spent.
The City of Edmonton works in an open-data and open-government manner. (Photo from SAP TV)
“The public seeks transparency not for the sake of transparency, but as a tool to hold their leaders accountable to results,” open government advocacy organization California Forward stated last week. “Conversely, governments may pursue openness as a means to increase efficiency by promoting inclusion and civic participation, which in turn fosters innovation.”
Open data initiatives are happening in democracies around the world at all levels of government. Such programs seek “to ‘liberate’ government data and voluntarily-contributed corporate data to fuel entrepreneurship … and create jobs,” according to a White House Web site.
But governments should determine what will best nurture accountability and innovation before breaking the chains on their data, a recent report by the Albany-based Center for Technology in Government (CTG) found. “The Dynamics of Opening Government Data” appraised the value of emancipated information through the lens of road construction in Edmonton and restaurant inspections in New York City.