Kirsten Gillibrand's push for open government

Kirsten Gillibrand has been pushing the cause of open public data this week. The clip above is her presentation at the nerd-wonk Personal Democracy Forum on Monday -- she talked about her office's disclosure of schedules and earmarks and how's she's pushed for similar disclosure for all Congressional members.

KG also announced this week that she's co-sponsoring the "Public Online Information Act," a bill that would require public info to be made available online in a searchable format before it could be considered public.

It's good to see this kind of support for open data initiatives -- in the Information Age (or whatever you call right now), useful access to data generated by the government should be a civil right. But if KG and other open government people want to really shake things up, they'll push for the federal government (which has money) to help develop tools for local governments (which don't have money) to collect, manage and share public data. The state of access to local public data is currently underwhelming -- even for data that should be relatively easy to post. (When was the last time you searched crime reports online for your town -- oh, right, you probably can't.)

A few cities are already headed in this direction. New York City has made a big deal of it recently, releasing a "road map" toward becoming a "digital city." It's touting the push as a way of increasing civic engagement and economic development. (It already makes some data available via a "data mine.")

That kind of initiative is easier for a place like NYC -- it has a huge budget. The jump is much bigger for local municipalities that can't be even manage to consistently post their press releases online (nevermind in a format that's not pdf).

Comments

I don't think it is necessarily a lack of funding that is causing the failure of local governments to provide access to information. I think it is more likely a lack tech skills at the local level. With all due respect to folks who work in local government, they aren't necessarily competing against Google to recruit people.

The best thing that the federal government could do is to help to set uniform standards and platforms for information sharing.

Say Something!

We'd really like you to take part in the conversation here at All Over Albany. But we do have a few rules here. Don't worry, they're easy. The first: be kind. The second: treat everyone else with the same respect you'd like to see in return. Cool? Great, post away. Comments are moderated so it might take a little while for your comment to show up. Thanks for being patient.

What's All Over Albany?

All Over Albany is for interested and interesting people in New York's Capital Region. In other words, it's for you. It's kind of like having a smart, savvy friend who can help you find out what's up. Oh, and our friends call us AOA.

Search

Recently on All Over Albany

Today's moment of mural

Took a minute the other day to admire this little mural in the Williams Street alley just off Broadway in downtown Troy. It's just very... (more)

The interurbans

Check out this clickable map of the old "interurban" trolley lines that ran all over New York State back in the 1920s. Here in the... (more)

Dr. Dog at Upstate Concert Hall

Indie rock band Dr. Dog is set to play a show at Upstate Concert Hall February 13. Tickets go on sale this Friday, October 19... (more)

Talking about artificial intelligence at the Rockefeller Institute next month / Automating Inequality with NYS Writers Institute this week

Artificial intelligence makes for good stories because killer robots and all that. But the reality of its promise -- and potential threat -- is probably... (more)

Solid Sound 2019 early-bird tickets

The Solid Sound festival will return to MASS MoCA June 28-30 in the summer of 2019. And early-bird tickets for the fest go on sale... (more)

Recent Comments

Giving out odd candy like Charleston Chews and Mallow Cups to confused trick or treaters and hoping that they try them and learn that they're awesome.

Drawing: Historic Haunted Pub Crawl of Downtown Albany

...has 44 comments, most recently from Michele

Today's moment of mural

...has 1 comment, most recently from ravioliollie

Where to buy Mexican-style chorizo?

...has 11 comments, most recently from Ashley

The Albany Hardware & Iron Co.

...has 3 comments, most recently from Paulsome

Greenhouse, aquaponics, mircrolivestock, composting: here's a chance to check out the Radix Center in Albany

...has 1 comment, most recently from Barbara Nazarewicz