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The FOI Advocate is a compendium of ideas, edited story excerpts and other materials from a variety of Web sites, as well as original concepts and analysis. When the information comes directly from another source, it will be attributed and a link will be provided whenever possible. The blog relies on the accuracy and integrity of the original sources cited. We will correct errors and inaccuracies when we become aware of them.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Here is a nice little nugget on FOI 2.0

From a column on Web 2.0:

Web 2.0 impacts government in many ways. One is simply whistle-blowing –– take IllegalSigns.ca, the clever Toronto "mashup" of government data and Google mapping. It pinpoints the location of illegal billboards and holds city government accountable to remove them.

In Los Angeles, academics and neighborhood activists are collaborating to apply city data to identify blocks with suspiciously high numbers of code violations and property tax delinquencies. The idea: Use "real-time" (current) data to pinpoint problem areas before they escalate.

Plus, CrimeReports.com is trying to get police departments nationwide to show and renew daily data on criminal activity by precise street location. A scattering of cities have agreed, among them our nation's capital. (You can test the system yourself –– enter a well-known address such as 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., Washington, D.C.).

There's a fascinating twist to the Web 2.0 story –– its lead city is America's often-maligned national capital. Stephenson argues convincingly that "Washington Mayor Adrian Fenty and his chief technology officer, Vivek Kundra, are this country's hands-down leaders on use of data feeds and data visualization."

Why? I asked Kundra. "There's very little government does that needs to be locked up, sealed, behind closed doors," he replied. Recalling his wonder on coming to America at age 11 (he'd been born in India, raised in Tanzania), Kundra talks with excitement of government focused on serving citizens.

More here.

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