Good and frank conversation today with someone at the European Parliament working on the planned EP’s response to the European Commission’s new proposal for the PSI Directive. Will put more thoughts to paper and publish early August.
Last week I sent all Dutch Members of the European Parliament (MEP) a message to voice my opposition to both Article 11 and 13 of the proposed new Copyright Directive. It is telling that only MEPs opposing those articles have responded to me. No one in favour of it bothered to let me know their reasoning.
Some links I thought worth reading the past few days
- World Bank data on the status of the global sustainable development goals, by the WB data team (whom I know due to my work for the WB’s open data efforts): The 2018 Atlas of Sustainable Development Goals: an all-new visual guide to data and development
- It’s not a problem, it’s a challenge, to stick to enlightenment ideals in developing AI. Privacy and using big data aren’t opposites. Let’s not confuse purposes and outcomes, and explore hidden assumptions. EU style AI efforts are merely hard in a different way than the surveillance capitalism variety in the US and the data driven authoritarianism variety in China : AI Has a Big Privacy Problem And Europe’s New Data Protection Law Is About to Expose It
- Quick overview of how EU is positioning in the AI space. Ethics a key component, and various funding initiatives underway: Key points from the EU Artificial Intelligence strategy
- My Swiss colleague André Golliez talks sense in this radio interview on the meaning of GDPR also to Switzerland (in Swiss-German): GDPR a Paradigm Shift for Data Protection
- An oldie, 2016, from Doc Searls, but still relevant. Your browser is your castle: The Castle Doctrine
- Data and the machine learning it enables is of geopolitical importance: The Chinese 2018-2020 Action Plan for AI
- Doc Searls, who expects GDPR to kill microtargeting as a business model, celebrates May 25th as ‘Privmas’ and writes about the : Frequently Unasked Questions (FUQ) for the GDPR
- Another old article (from 2013), but still a relevant thought, how to connect things up while staying personally in control: The Internet of My Things
The European Commission releases at first glance useful new proposals concerning the re-use of public sector data, sharing of health care data, research data and more. That’s some deep reading to do in the coming days. (We were involved in the evaluation of current rules for the EC)
Last fall the European open data portal project published two reports. One on the potential economic value of open data in Europe, the other taking a look at the maturity of open data efforts in European countries.
Both reports contain interesting insights and conclusions.
Both reports are also useless.
Because the data underneath the reports has not been published. Without explanation.
That is of course rather surprising because the subject of the reports is open data. At least when the topic is openness, all the related material should be open. That is why, when we built the EU PSI Scoreboard in 2011, we published all the underlying data right alongside the scoreboard. As does the Open Data Barometer. As does the Open Data Index. As does the Digital Agenda Scoreboard. But not the European Open Data Portal project. I would have expected the data under both reports by the European Open Data Portal to actually be available in the European Open Data Portal.
Missing data destroys the report’s value
Not having the data renders the report on open data maturity useless:
- it makes interpretation of the conclusions impossible, as there is no way to see if the assertions chime with the collected data, nor if that data chimes with ones own experience in the field
- it makes any meaningful discussion about the merits of the report impossible, even where it gives rise to questions (such as, what makes Bulgaria an open data trendsetter?)
- it makes formulating actions aimed at improvement impossible, as the data to determine what improvements can be made are not available
Thus after reading the report nobody is, nor can they be, any the wiser as to how to move forward.
I approached the European Commission, and through them the authors, to request the data. After a few messages back and forth, the reason that the data is not published became clear: the national representatives involved in the project, such as the members of the EU PSI Group, have witheld publication of the data. I assume because of cold feet and dreading actual comparison between countries. Not publishing the data however, even if not intended as such, is also sending a clear message: “we’re not serious about openness.” The verdict when it comes to European open data maturity therefore is likely “not very mature”.
Requesting data per country needed
A very few countries may pro-actively publish the data about themselves, but most will not. To obtain the data used for the open data maturity report, it is now needed to approach all the national government representatives involved and request the data from them.
Which I intend to do. Help is welcome. [UPDATE: I have approached most of the governments involved, to ask for the information that could make the maturity report actually useful.]
On 22 February we as the ePSIplatform team organized a big conference in Warsaw on Open Government Data. With 300 people registered from 30 countries, and 40 speakers, it was almost as big as last year’s conference we organized in Rotterdam.
As this was our last big event under the ePSIplatform contract, which ended 1 March, we decided to use the Opening Keynote to provide an overview of what was achieved in the past few years in Open Data, and especially what is still to be done, and the challenges and pitfalls connected to that. I will provide a full transcript later, but below you find the slides and the video (first 20 minutes) of the presentation.