Learner’s Submission: Access to Data Experience in Brazil

30/05/2015

“The Brazilian Government has recently issued Regulation establishing the National Action Plan on Open Government, in order to promote actions and measures aimed at increasing transparency and access to public information.

It was told to be issue in order to improve the provision of public services and the strengthening of public integrity.

The claimed main objectives of the program are increased availability of information about government activities, including updated data on expenditures and performance of actions and government programs, promotion of social participation in decision-making processes.

The objectives also are encouraging the use of new technologies in the management and delivery of public services, which should stimulate or promote the development of innovation, strengthen public governance and increase transparency and social participation.

In order to increase transparency of processes and access to public information, government has also encouraging the use of technology to support those demands for information access.

Also recently published in 2011, a federal Law regulates access to data and information held by the government and sets forth the procedures to be observed by Federal, State and Municipalities, in order to ensure public access to information, as provided for in the Constitution.

Since then, the Brazilian Government has adopted policies that seek to promote dialogue between actors of the society and the government to think the best use of the data on behalf of society and has implemented tools for anyone to find and use the data and public information.

The goal has been to provide data on the health system, transportation system, public security, education indicators, government spending, electoral process, etc.

The plan foresees that in the future it will be made available access to data published by all government agencies.

Access to information was provided for in the Federal Constitution and is knew as part of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

These experiences have provided citizens a better understanding of government, closer monitoring of public services, control of public accounts and allows people to evaluate the planning and development of public policies as showed in recently public manifestations about government actions.

Nowadays you can find detailed budgetary and financial information of the federal government, information about the Federal Executive Branch, government spending, Federal resource transfers to states and municipalities, partnerships with individuals, corporations or government entities, forecast revenue, information about public workers or even about corporations who has suffered sanctions from the Public Administration.

Other actions have emerged and now many agencies are responsible for promoting public transparency, allowing access to information on expenditure, bids, procurement and other information deemed relevant and of public interest.

Those actions are certainly an important way to strengthens democracy and the next effort has to be in a way to clarify people about the use of this new level of knowledge and its power, in order to use it as a behavior-changing instrument.” -Evair Rodrigues de Souza – Brasilia, Brazil


Learner’s Submission: Knowledge Management implemented through NISG and TKDL

22/05/2015

” Introduction:

Government of India along with NASSCOM put together National Institute for Smart Governance (NISG) to improve service delivery in the exploding digital landscape. This institute utilizes Knowledge Management & Capacity Building along with other mechanisms to achieve the vision of making all public services accessible to common man.

This entails delivery of public services in a transparent way at reduced costs while minimizing overheads in an efficient and effective manner. In doing so, the government is trying to ensure all the benefits reach the intended recipients while reducing corruption. It is bringing in Industry to participate in this initiative by creating opportunities which in turn generate employment and secondary markets.

Here we look at top benefits for the three key stakeholders – Citizens, Government and Industry – who can reap the rewards of implementing such an initiative.

Benefits to Citizens

  • Multi-channel service delivery through internet, mobile, kiosks, ATMs, banks other than existing government channels removing waiting times saving countless man hours while reducing costs
  • Transparent mechanism help citizens track their services, complaints and requests in real time
  • Digital revolution creates empowered citizens who can be more engaging with the government and active in shaping nation’s progress
  • Reduced corruption means more hassle free day-to-day life for citizens without fear or favor
  • Better quality of life where citizens receive better outcomes of developments

Benefits to Government

  • Faster, effective, efficient decision making while mitigating risk helps create better policies
  • Enhances coordination and collaboration between various as federal & state departments thus reducing to and fro communication
  • Direct feedback from citizens, experts, stakeholders helps in fine tuning implementation mechanism of various policies
  • Higher productivity of government employees and effective management at granular level helps in optimizing scare resources in welfare of citizens
  • The monetary benefits thus accrued can be channelized into other key areas primary healthcare, education and nation building.

Benefits to Industry

  • Investing in KM systems can help create an ecosystem for R&D technologies which in turn creates IPR based innovations and inventions
  • Market penetration through new products for current markets or creating future markets
  • Increasing growth by implementing new business models thereby creating new revenue channels leading to greater employment and driving demand for more products/services
  • Better training leveraging the accumulated knowledge leading to higher skilled resources
  • Reduced corruption brings in more investment, creates more entrepreneurs, reduces business risk and improves overall economy of the nation leading to holistic growth

Next example is about not having Knowledge base. This lack of an integrated system to capitalize on traditional Indian knowledge as Intellectual Property Rights can be found in the patent cases of Neem, Turmeric, Jamun, Karela, etc. Products created from these traditional formulations have been patented in other countries resulting in loss of IPR, revenue, employment and creation of new industries.

This highlighted the need to consolidate, protect, preserve and propagate such ancient knowledge. Government entities like Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR); Ministry of Science & Technology; Department of Ayurveda, Yoga, Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha & Homoeopathy (AYUSH); Ministry of Health & Family Welfare came together to form Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL).

TKDL developed an innovative structured classification system for the purpose of systematic arrangement, dissemination and retrieval has been evolved for about 25,000 subgroups against few subgroups that were available in earlier version of the International Patent Classification (IPC), related to medicinal plants, minerals, animal resources, effects and diseases, methods of preparations, mode of administration, etc.

This initiative will help fight future cases of bio-piracy, related legal issues and easy processing of patents based on this traditional knowledge. Additional benefits could be the preservation of such ancient wisdom gathered across the nation for future generations to cherish and make the best use for greater good.” – Soumitri Murthinty, Maharashtra, India

References:

http://nisg.org/page/8

http://www.tkdl.res.in/


Learner’s Submission: Open Government Data in Liberia

24/02/2015

“Up to the writing of this essay there are no specific open government data in my country; Liberia. But the government have been trying very hard to show some levels of support in the areas of open government data. since its inception in 2005, the government of Liberia under the leadership Africa’s first female President has made some impressive reforms to support open government and has signed various conventions and policies and frameworks to facilitate such.
Before this government, Liberia among the least compliance countries in the world in the issues of transparency, accountability and human rights violation. In the very early days of the government, Liberia was able to sign onto the United Nations convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) in 2005 thereby declaring corruption number one enemy in the nation. The Liberian government was the first African country government to sign and comply with the Extractive Industry transparency Initiative (EITTI) with the aim of governing the country’s natural resources. There are several other frameworks the government have put in place to safeguard the nation’s asset against corruption individuals and to show case on transparency and accountability such as the Liberia Ant-corruption Commission (LACC), the Public Procurement and Concessions Commission (PPCC), and the Good Governance Commission. To open the government to the people, the Liberian government was the first in West Africa to pass a Freedom of Information Act.
With all the above just mentioned the government is still behind in so many other processes that will ensure open government data for citizens engagement. Accordingly, the legal frameworks to implement these sound policies put together have been very difficult. Citizens are yet to see the implementation of these legal frameworks and policies. There are numerous cases of certain individuals bypassing the Public Procurement and Concession Commission and carrying on fraudulent bidding processes. But again another argument that comes into play is the government lacks the incentive structures, capacity, infrastructure and resources to combat these irregularities. With all these problems, it is encouraging to see the Johnson-Sirleaf government through some partnerships to commit to the development of a citizen website and an open data portal to allow more openness to information about the government dealings. Presently, it is difficult to obtain information about government activities.
Non governmental Organizations such as Transparency International, Accountability Lab, iLab Liberia and other local and international partners are committed to supporting the government through initiatives the promote free access to government data. For example, Accountability Lab and iLab Liberia are supporting these commitments through a project called “Knowmore LIB” meaning a knowledgeable person in Liberia. “Knowmore LIB” is a collaborative effort across civil society and government in Liberia to ensure that information can be used by Liberians to make their government more open, accountable and responsive to citizens. Their intends are to help the government in its open data efforts to make information accessible to all citizens.
In concluding, I will like to say the Liberia government on the open data to citizens is still on the stage of designing and trying to usher itself into the implementation, monitoring and will later get into the evaluation stage. ” – Alhaji S. Kamara – Minnesota, United States


Learner’s Submission: Data Accessibility and Vital Information Management Legislation in Nigeria – Myth, Mirage and a Must

12/02/2015

” ABSTRACT

The use and benefits of Data Accessibility cannot be overemphasized in this contemporary world, where information and communication management is fast becoming the appropriate/fundamental framework/foundation for good governance, policy/decision making, mass information dissemination, business transactions,e-learning,social-media communication and many others in both developed, developing and even underdeveloped economies.

Therefore, in this respect, it would be expedient for any country to strictly comply/adhere to any globally recognized/approved/endorsed policy, standards, framework or guides/guidelines after every necessary fundamental hardware, software and institutional/governmental requirements have been met.

INTRODUCTION

Data Accessibility and vital information protection/security management is fast becoming a global issue because of the fundamental application/utilization of ICT and allied hardware,software(applications) and humanware.

Such global issue because of the successful application/deployment in developed/developing economies thus makes it a must for other nations/economies like Nigeria to develop,design and deploy such relevant/vital framework/guidelines by a formal legislation of bill or acts that will enforce compliance.

It is the intention of this author to address the issue wholistically and proactively by enumerating the needs,requirements,impacts/effects and benefits with some useful recommendations for all concerned stakeholders.

EFFECTS/IMPACTS: The impacts or socio-economic and techno-political effects of inadequate or non-availability of any known legislations that protects the fundamental human rights to access vital data/information and also protects such data/information from any unauthorized person(s) can be highlighted below:

  • Abuse of data/information
  • Access to very important personal, security, policy and related data/information by unauthorized data/information
  • Increased cyber and associated crimes/social vices
  • Increased economic losses of business intelligence data/information
  • Encourage unethical hacking

REQUIREMENTS:For data accessibility/protection to be legislated and for  the expected benefits to be derived,the following basic/fundamental requirements must be met.These are:

  • Availability of adequate/proper, secured technical infrastructural/hardware/facilities
  • Availability of competent/qualified data stewards/experts, Data Governance Experts and Information Management Professionals
  • Evidence for Financial/Technical Supports from International Agencies/Donors and Sponsors
  • Proper and well formulated friendly data accessibility policy for legislation

BENEFITS

The following are benefits to be derived if a data accessibility/ protection is legislated by the government:

  • Promote, enhance and attract investment decision making/FD investors
  • Enhance policy formulation, development and legislation
  • Enhance Information Architecture framework that will resultantly promote proper information management
  • A good framework to ensure best practices for transparent e-governance
  • Promote socio-economic, political and infrastructure planning/ development of the country
  • Enhance resource allocation/development
  • Promote compliance to international best practices data accessibility/legislation that does not discriminate/infringe on Human rights
  • Ensure vital information is secured, safe and accessed by legitimate person(s)
  • Ensure that data/information that are gender-biased, or one that can incite religious crisis or pornographic-laden information are adequately censored before disseminated to the appropriate audience
  • Assist in combating cyber crimes, vices, scandals and abuse of information usage especially from the social media

RECCOMMENDATIONS

  • Increased public awareness and sensitization via the print,electronic and electronic social media
  • The government should seek for assistance from both foreign/international bodies/donor agencies for technical,Human capacity development,financial and political supports to enhance/facilitate the enactment of data accessibility/protection bills
  • The Nigerian government at all levels should embark on a strategic mass/public education/enlightenment campaigns
  • The private sectors come up with a strategic/development plan that is viable,feasible,sustainable and people-oriented proactive approaches/programmes.Such sectors should be those directly concerned/affected and responsible for a  should

The government of Nigeria should accelerate the legislation of the proposed/allied  bills  so that all the attendant socio-economic and techno-political benefits(tangible and non-tangible) benefits can be realized,achieved and optimized.” – Olumide Idowu – Lagos, Nigeria


Learner’s Submission: Transparency and Access to Public Information to the Brazilian Citizens

22/08/2014

“The present article discusses the Brazilian law of access to information as a way to enforce government transparency, focusing on a descriptive content overview, the government initiatives to support its compliance and the main challenges imposed by the law’s enactment. It concludes presenting some statistics results, published by e-SIC, an e-government platform designed to facilitate and speed citizen’s request.

Since the second half of the 80’s, the Brazilian Parliament and the Federal Government have enacted several norms and regulations in order to guarantee the access to data and public information. From the Federal Constitution to laws and federal decrees, these norms and regulations are consistent with the policies of active transparency.

The Federal Constitution states (article 5, 37 and 216) that every Brazilian citizen has the right to receive from the Public Departments and Institutions information of their personal interest, or collective and general interest. If not provided within a period established by law, these institutions and their managers will suffer the penalties imposed by law.

Along the years, several laws came to reinforce the obligation. However, in 2012 the Law n. 12.527, also called Lei de Acesso à informação (LAI), finally, came to introduce concrete mechanisms, allowing any person, without no need to present any motivation or reason, to receive public information from governmental entities. The law includes Federal, State and local governments, the three Republic Powers (Executive, Legislative and Judiciary), the Accounting Tribunals and Prosecution office.

In order to guarantee effectively the access to public information, the LAI based on a set of established standards, international practices and principles. First, the access is the rule, secret is the exception, it means the all-public information must be publicly available. Second, it is not compulsory to state the reasons for any specific request. Third, there is no charge applied and the government should be proactive or strive for active transparency, meaning that the government must publish information of general beforehand.

Following the LAI enactment, the government adopted many actions to provide support for complete execution. These actions included training of the public servants, including the publishing of manual to reinforce the LAI importance, objectives and explanations of the full content. The government also deployed and launched an e-government application, called e-SIC, a one-point service to easy the process of information request, follow-up and answer.

As for the National states, Minas Gerais and São Paulo, for instance, implemented similar digital platforms. However, Rio de Janeiro state lags behind, turning it compulsory to the citizen having all the requests presented and signed in person. The same happens for the majority of local governments.

Since the implementation in May 2012, the e-SIC had published on the internet some statistics regarding the amount of requests, answers, and main category of information required. The major request relates to Government Policies, Economics and Finance, summing up 18%. From May 2012 to July 2014, requests increased from average 6,902 to 7,381. The average response time is 13.2 to 13.6 days. Around 9.5% of the requests has the answer period extended. However, around 98% of them are answered in time. Although no data is available to compare the positive results of the law compliance, at least for the Federal Government the e-SIC statistics seems to appoint to a high level of compliance.

The challenges are still enormous though, spanning the improvement of document and information management processes (creation, record, internal flow and storage of document and information) to change in cultural values and the awareness increase of the law importance by government managers and civil public servants. ” –  Nilson Rodrigues de Assis – Brasilia, Brazil


Learner’s Submission: Marco Civil

08/07/2014

“In order to guarantee democracy and freedom on the internet, the government of Brazil recently approved a set of laws that will shape the future of access to data in the country and, ultimately, in the world: the Civil Rights Framework for the Internet.

The initiative, popularly known as “Marco Civil”, sets principles, rights and obligations for the use of the Internet in all brazilian national territory.

With data protection and privacy becoming a major issue for governments, Brazil has now taken the lead on the topic. According to the Marco Civil, internet is a neutral domain where private corporations, that provide access, have no control over information flow. The legislation also sets by law that all internet providers must store user’s data, which can be then accessed over a judicial decision. Although regarded as a potential risk for citizens, data storage was an old demand from security institutions, that are now enabled to carry long investigations using data access information. The legislation terms also states that it is illegal for companies to use personal information to third parties for commercial means.

With popular demand for internet regulation increasing over the past years, recent allegations of espionage between countries, as well as the Edward Snowden affair, speeded up the approval process of the Marco in Brazilian senate. The fact that President Dilma Roussef defended the Internet Constitution on the 68th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, on 24 September 2013, was a clear statement that privacy is an issue that all countries are going to have to address in the short term.

The elaboration itself the Framework was an example of how a collaborative and democratic process can bring prolific outcomes for society. The process of defining the terms faced many changes and adaptations along its course to final approval. Given the technicality of the project, the Marco Civil was also analyzed by several commissions, composed from different sectors of society, such as Science, Technology, Environment and Innovation.  Through a variety of participation portals and online channels, civil society representatives and common internet users expressed their opinions and participated on the process of discussing the Marco Civil to find the best framework to benefit the nation.

It is important to stress that the efforts towards data protection and information freedom is a continuing process, that needs constant upgrades and adaptations, to renovate itself according to the citizen’s needs.

The World Wide Web creator, Tim Berners-Lee, described Brazil as a new world leader in democracy and social progress, in an era where citizen’s rights must be protected by specific laws worldwide. The Framework cannot be regarded as a separate body from the constitution, but a complementary set of measures to reinforce existing ones.

The Marco Civil is as a successful example of data access regulation as a tool to promote social development. Its outcome is the balance of rights and obligations of individuals, private organizations and the government on the internet. It also prevents private organizations on making distinctions of data traffic based on subscription plans, stopping companies from prioritizing web speed and access based on economic interests. This allows regular users to have equal data opportunity across the web, defining access by the necessity of citizens and public demand, not only according the commercial interest of private corporations.

Given the increasing importance of internet on society, this is potentially a model to be exported to different nations, specially in emerging economies and developing democracies. This makes the Marco Civil a major advance in democracy. The importance of the model can be specially regarded in nations where information can play a crucial role on the development and civil liberty rights. Social media activities and collaborative processes are now a key element on the shaping of societies and the new world.

The first steps in a new age of governance have been taken. While the Marco Civil’s main objective is to regulate data access, many other benefits spring up along process. One thing is for sure: topics such as pluralism and diversity, openness and collaboration, free competition and consumer protection are now consolidated on the general public agenda, and they came to stay.

Ultimately, the Marco Civil guarantees basic human rights, such as privacy, and citizenship, establishing diversity preservation as a fundamental premise on this new public domain. On a national perspective, the Marco Civil Assure Brazil’s sovereignty for information technology and democratic governance. On the global level, however, the benefits go far beyond. ” – Rodolpho Zannin Feijó – London, United Kingdom


Learner’s Submission: datos.gov.co – An Example of a Combination Process of Knowledge

18/03/2014

“In the field of knowledge management, the process of converting explicit knowledge into explicit knowledge is known as combination. In this process of knowledge generation is from information systems, electronic data processing and integration. As I have always stated in my view, the Government Online program in Colombia, is nothing more than the implementation of a knowledge management system for the state, and this being consistent with and aligned with academic theory, the Open Data portal of the Colombian state is a combination tool where the existing explicit knowledge within organizations and often stored in databases to a repository brings providing some additional metadata and which new knowledge is explicit and is available to of society.

The public sector entities, have a lot of knowledge, both explicit and implicit, within their organizations, within their documents, information systems, spreadsheets, the minds of your servants, etc.., And some mode has been consolidated in the group of explicit knowledge. A conscious or unconscious, Quality Systems for Public Management that have been implemented over the last decade have as part of its objectives the documentation of processes and procedures of the entity, which has led to bulk process outsourcing within the state, much knowledge was only in the minds of public officials (tacit) is carried documents, systems, electronic media (explicit).

Much of the information derived from the process of externalization begins to articulate data and information that is already structured in some systems entities and begins to generate new knowledge, the latter begin to release data sets that are exploitable by society and the government to notice this utility starts to make it available to social actors in the country, citizenship, for them, give added value and benefit from this information that the end of the day is public character and are the property of citizens who have paid their taxes.

Within the portal Datos.gov.co now a number of useful information from different sources in free and machine-processable formats, which have helped to develop applications, conduct research, support studies, among others, supporting a process of knowledge transfer is from the State to citizenship. But this knowledge is not unidirectional, citizenship also has tools through this website to comment and suggest, which leads to identifying data needs of the citizenry, these needs are recorded within a system and thus again provides a process outsourcing passing the tacit knowledge of citizenship to explicitly registered within the State system.

At the time of writing this post the catalog has 499 published data sets, although already a considerable number is still more use by the public, but this also happens because of the lack of commitment of many entities to open their data, or verify its usefulness.

In Colombia advance to the management of public institutions through an instrument called FURAG for its acronym in Spanish (Single Registration Form for Advance Management) measurement performed there the different public entities are consolidated in a single instrument is measured within the themes that are measured is the online government and there is recorded that components eGovernment strategy has been implemented. The issue of open data is a component element of Democracy Online which in turn belongs to the Government Online Strategy.

Therefore, some organizations publish open only to demonstrate progress in the management and this requirement is done in Colombia as a control data, but lacking in some, a commitment to the philosophy of open government, review the usefulness of this, beyond meet to meet, open data only for passing the test on the entities.

Although there is still much to do, still need to build commitment both citizens and institutions and industry can be said to be on the right track and that the hard work of the professionals we engage in creating awareness and hold hands entities for cover under the same blanket of open government.” – Carlos Andrés Morales Machuca – Bogota, Colombia


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