Thursday, June 20, 2024

‘Open Data’ will not automatically ensure transparency: IT group

An activist organization of IT professionals has cautioned the public against hastily equating the government?s Open Data initiative as a foolproof representation of the current administration?s transparency.

“It is too early to tell if the Open Data portal will enhance transparency, accountability and citizen engagement,” said Gladys Regalado, deputy national coordinator of the Computer Professionals’ Union (CPU).

CPU

Last week, the government launched data.gov.ph to consolidate “datasets of different government agencies” and make them “searchable, accessible, and useful.”

The site is part of its open governance initiatives “to foster a citizenry empowered to make informed decisions, and to promote efficiency and transparency in government.”

Regalado said that while the launch of ?a single repository for downloadable government data is something that was long overdue?, it should not be a substitute to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

?An FOIA can mandate what kind of data will be ‘open’ to the public to ensure transparency. Without an FOI, data.gov.ph can be selective in releasing information,” warned Regalado.

Internationally, Open Data proponents argue that (1) Open Data lead to increased transparency and accountability with respect to public bodies and services; (2) increases the efficiency and productivity of agencies and enhances their governance; (3) promotes public participation in decision making and social innovation; (4) and fosters economic innovation and job and wealth creation.

However, “evidence of economic, social and democratic impacts of Open Data policy is still immature or lacking,” she said

The site highlights raw data from government agencies in different formats. Data are usually in tabular form with rows as its records or entries and columns as its attributes.

“We noticed that data downloaded from the site still require programming knowledge to properly load it on a spreadsheet program for analysis, unlike Open Data portals of other countries,” noted Regalado.

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