Internship Opportunity: (Dis)Trust in Public-Sector Data Infrastructures – Social Media Collective

“Microsoft Research NYC is looking for an advanced PhD student to conduct an original research project on a topic under the rubric of “(dis)trust in public-sector data infrastructures.” MSR internships provide PhD students with an opportunity to work on an independent research project that advances their intellectual development while collaborating with a multi-disciplinary group of scholars. Interns typically relish the networks that they build through this program. This internship will be mentored by danah boyd; the intern will be part of both the NYC lab’s cohort and a member of the Social Media Collective. Applicants for this internship should be interested in conducting original research related to how trust in public-sector data infrastructures is formed and/or destroyed….”

Book Launch: “Situating Open Data: Global Trends in Local Contexts” Tickets, Thu, Nov 19, 2020 at 10:00 AM | Eventbrite

“Open data and its effects on society are always woven into infrastructural legacies, social relations, and the political economy.

This raises questions about how our understanding and engagement with open data shifts when we focus on its situated use. The new book Situating Open Data: Global Trends in Local Contexts sheds light on these questions, providing empirical studies of open data practices, their local implementation, and the development of open data ecosystems.

Join us for the book launch, where editors and authors (listed below) will present their insights through lightning talks, and discuss the findings with the audience!

The book can be accessed online (open access, PDF) or ordered in print here and here….”

OPEN DATA: Agencies Need Guidance to Establish Comprehensive Data Inventories; Information on Their Progress is Limited

“The Open, Public, Electronic and Necessary Government Data Act of 2018 (OPEN Government Data Act) codifies and expands open data policy and generally requires agencies to publish information as open data by default, as well as develop and maintain comprehensive data inventories. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has not issued statutorily-required guidance for agencies to implement comprehensive data inventories, which could limit agencies’ progress in implementing their requirements under the act. OMB also has not met requirements to publicly report on agencies’ performance and compliance with the act. Access to this information could inform Congress and the public about agencies’ open data progress and statutory compliance….

Democratizing Our Data | The MIT Press

“Public data are foundational to our democratic system. People need consistently high-quality information from trustworthy sources. In the new economy, wealth is generated by access to data; government’s job is to democratize the data playing field. Yet data produced by the American government are getting worse and costing more. In Democratizing Our Data, Julia Lane argues that good data are essential for democracy. Her book is a wake-up call to America to fix its broken public data system….”

Canadians Need Unfettered Access To Government Publications In Face Of COVID-19 – Canadian Association of Research Libraries

“The Canadian Federation of Library Associations (CFLA) and the Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL) are calling on federal and provincial governments to make official publications more accessible to Canadians by assigning a Creative Commons Attribution Licence (CC BY) to publicly available government information. We see this as a necessary and immediate response to COVID-19 and the appropriate default model for accessing government information….” 

 

The first statewide, open access dataset tracking public records requests in New Jersey – ScienceDirect

Abstract:  State freedom of information laws are vital mechanisms for providing public access to government records and supporting civic engagement through the effectuation of a public policy of transparency at the state level within the United States, not unlike their federal counterpart, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). New Jersey state law facilitates public access to government records under the Open Public Records Act (OPRA). Codified at N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1 et seq., OPRA applies to state, county and local public authorities but exempts the judicial and legislative branches from its disclosure requirements. Since OPRA took effect in 2002, it has been difficult to track the full extent of law’s impact across New Jersey’s 21 counties, 565 municipalities, and numerous state agencies, school districts and independent authorities, all of which must individually respond to requests under the law. To the best of the author’s knowledge, no official source has compiled detailed metadata tracking the content and disposition of OPRA requests at the state, regional and municipal levels within New Jersey using individual requests, and authorities rarely proactively disclose their responses to requests they receive, necessitating further data collection to support research into the impacts of this law. This article presents the OPRAmachine dataset: data containing detailed metadata on public records requests submitted to state & local public authorities in New Jersey since October 2017 collected through the implementation of information and communication technologies (ICT) to facilitate the freedom of information request process. The data was collected using an open-source web interface that allowed users to submit an OPRA request to public authorities, with responses stored in a database and made available via the internet. After their request received a response, users were asked to answer a single survey question describing the status of their request, with their answer used to classify the request. Descriptive statistics, tables and frequencies were produced for the dataset and are included in this article. These data will assist state policymakers and other interested parties with assessing trends in OPRA requests across multiple types of public authorities & geographic regions. These data can inform more efficient government records management procedures, foster civic engagement by increasing government transparency and can inform the development of possible reforms to the OPRA law by showing trends in requests & responses that can be used to evaluate the law’s implementation throughout the state.

 

Support Centre for Data Sharing

“The?“Support Centre for Data Sharing” (SCDS)?is a new initiative funded by the European Commission to further support the development of the?Digital Single Market. Our objective is to facilitate data sharing, i.e. transactions in which data held by public sector or private sector are made available to other organisations (public or private) for use and re-use. Data sharing can happen in exchange for payment (or other reward) or for free. Success of data sharing depends on practices, technology, cultural elements and legal frameworks that are relevant to sharing any kind of information digitally, between individuals or organisations. …”

The U.S. Needs a National Data Service – Scientific American

“And we can do something about it. We can build supporting data infrastructures. We have had massive successes in the past with creating infrastructures that respond to national needs, including the Manhattan Project, the moon landing, and the establishment of the National Weather Service after the devastating Galveston hurricane in 1900. To fix this problem we need three separate actions: …”

Victory! EFF Defends Public’s Right to Access Court Records About Patent Ownership

“The public’s right of access to court proceedings is well-established as a legal principle, but it needs constant defending. In part, that’s because private parties keep asking publicly-funded courts to resolve their disputes in secret. As we and others have written before, this problem is especially great in patent cases, where parties on opposite sides of a case often agree with each other to keep as much of the litigation as possible hidden from view. That deprives the public of material it has every right to see that could affect its rights to engage, like documents establishing (or undermining) a patent owner’s right to bring suit on the basis of a patent which they claim to own….

The Federal Circuit’s decision is a victory for the public, which has waited far too long to see court records to which it has a strong presumption of rightful access. It is also a defeat for Uniloc, which tried, but failed, to avoid the default rule of public access throughout these proceedings. We hope this outcome sends a strong message to Uniloc and other patent litigants that their preference for secrecy cannot overcome the public’s right to know what happens in our courts.”