The public domain: as it keeps mushrooming in this digital age, so does the challenge of accessibility, which accounts for the rising use of the term transparency. President Obama has promised to provide it: “We will work together to ensure the public trust and establish a system of transparency.” Even so, the flood of information rises ever higher, and the word public becomes ever more corrupted. Government officials can proclaim that endless file cabinets are available to the public while knowing full well that if it’s hard to open them, in practical terms their contents remain private.
The president’s commitment to transparency received a boost from Vivek Kundra, whom the president has called on to serve as chief information officer of the United States. To applause from a thousand open-government activists at the recent Personal Democracy Forum in New York, Kundra announced the creation of an “I.T. dashboard” on the Web site USASpending.gov. It enables anyone anywhere to track the $70 billion the federal government spends on information technology annually.
That open spirit is not, however, universally honored, which is why Andrew Rasiej, a technology entrepreneur, urges a federal law that redefines “public” to mean searchable and readable online. Representative Steve Israel, a Democrat of New York, is drafting just such legislation. ...
Gavin Baker at 8/12/2009 01:22:00 PM.
The open access movement:
Putting peer-reviewed scientific and scholarly literature
on the internet. Making it available free of charge and
free of most copyright and licensing restrictions.
Removing the barriers to serious research.