Martin Tisné, Director of Policy at Omidyar Network, in The Telegraph: “Trust in government has rarely been at a lower ebb. Citizens in developed and developing countries alike feel increasingly disconnected from the political process and their political leaders. They complain of having too little influence over decisions, too little access to government information and too little control over their own data.
In such an environment, suspicion and anger can erupt as we have seen across the world, most recently in Istanbul’s Taksim square.
At the same time, governments are operating in very challenging circumstances. They have to meet rising expectations from their citizens with, thanks to the impact of the global financial crisis, often severely reduced revenues. They also face a whole range of pressures which will make bridging this gap ever more difficult. There has never been a greater need for open and honest dialogue.
There is no single answer to these concerns. But it is clear that opening up government data must be a major element of the answer. Open data has enormous potential to drive economic growth and spread prosperity. It improves accountability, strengthens governance, builds trust and drives innovation in both the private sector and the delivery of key public services.
There are already many examples from around the world that these benefits are already being delivered. In the UK, Mastodon C
, a start-up incubated by the Open Data Institute
, used open data on prescriptions by GPs to show that the NHS could have saved over £200 million by prescribing generic drugs instead of their more expensive patented equivalents.
In India, the technology platform I Paid A Bribe enables citizens to publicly log whenever they have been shaken down for a bribe. In Mexico, Compara Tu Escuela (Check Your School) empowers parents by providing them directly with information on school performance.
We all benefit as citizens and consumers, as economies and societies, if we get this right. It is why the expected decision by the G8 countries to adopt an Open Data Charter at the G8 summit in Lough Erne is so important.”