26 January 2015
New Zealand remains in the top four countries that make national data available on line according to the Worldwide Web Foundation. The second annual Open Data Barometer published last week ranks New Zealand unchanged (4th) as were UK (1st), US (2nd) and Sweden (3rd).
The general commentary about the assessment of 86 countries is that “there is still a long way to go to put the power of data in the hands of citizens…all too often governments are still publishing only selected datasets with limited data published on important areas such as public sector performance and expenditure”.
There is a growing divide between countries with initiatives – whether or not committed to the the Open Government Partnership, and those with no formal programme. Half of the G7 countries fall into the group that is not publishing data that was promised in 2013.
Only eight countries are publishing open data on government spending and even fewer on government contracting data. The report comments that “information critical to fight corruption, and promote fair competition – such as company registers, public sector contracts and land titles is even harder to get.
The report recommends;
- High level political commitment to disclosure of public sector data
- Supporting civil society to understand and use data effectively
- Making data visually accessible where there is low literacy levels
- Supporting city level data initiatives
- Legal reforms to guarantee rights to information – and to privacy