Irish Government Called On To Open Up Its Data to Citizens

Silicon Republic | Silicon Republic | April 29, 2011

The Irish Government is being called upon to open up all data to citizens and enterprising software developers in a move that could drive a raft of new services to citizens, eradicate logjams and lead to greater accountability. By embracing open data principles, open source technology and cloud computing, it is envisaged Ireland could follow in the steps of the US Government and European nations like Norway that have embraced open data principles to great success.

According to the CEO of the Irish Internet Association, Joan Mulvihill, wind and wave energy are considered great but untapped natural resources, but what of data, the nation’s untapped non-natural resources? “In an information age, where knowledge is power and where Ireland is the arguably the European HQ of all things digital, why are we not leading the way in open data?”

She pointed to the Obama administration in the US, which has enabled citizen developers by opening up data. Chris Vein, deputy US chief technology officer, said: “Whether you call them geeks or techies, some of the greatest innovations in government have been the result of citizen developers who simply want to do their part to make our government work better. From the Department of Health and Human Services’ Community Data Health Initiative to 'Transportation Camps' - un-meetings aimed at solving transportation problems - throughout the United States, citizens are using their talents to help make government data that are simply lying around actually work for the American people.

“By adopting an open data policy, the government have the opportunity to directly benefit from the technical expertise of its own people by allowing its able developer community access to enormous data sets that lie largely unscrutinised and unused. Unlocking these data mines and allowing those skilled in eeking out the nuggets, polishing the data and carving elegant solutions to public services will benefit everyone – citizens, governments, entrepreneurs."