Government

A timely call for a secure yet open cloud

Open Cloud Declaration

In mid-November, the open source/open standards advocacy group, Open Forum Europe (OFE), released an "Open Cloud Declaration," which identifies ten principles to help policy makers, industry, and other stakeholders find "a global and open approach to Cloud technologies and solutions."

It is not a coincidence, of course, that the Open Cloud Declaration was released during the same week that officials from the European Commission were meeting at a summit in Berlin to discuss data protection and cloud computing policy. These leaders (as well as policy makers in other countries, such as Brazil) are weighing their reactions in response to the ongoing revelations regarding data collection by the U.S. National Security Administration (NSA). » Read more

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OpenSaaS and the future of government IT innovation

OpenSaaS and Government IT

In recent years, open source software projects, and, separately, cloud-based software-as-a-service (SaaS) products have begun to significantly disrupt traditional technology vendor business models in government, making it easier and cheaper for governments to procure and implement the software solutions they need.

Now, OpenSaaS—SaaS based on open source code—is poised to accelerate this trend. » Read more

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Year-in-Review: Government hot topics on Opensource.com

Top 10 open government articles in 2013

We have policies. Now what?

In recent years, news of open source or open standards policies dominated our news feeds. Each new policy was hailed as a victory by advocates of open source. While there has been no shortage of successful news stories around open source implementations this year, we’ve marked a growing, uncomfortable trend. Governments, even those who’ve established excellent open technology policies, are still struggling to put those policies into practice.

The current government policy landscape, for me, is best summed up in this article by Paul Brownell: » Read more

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Solving local problems through citizen participation

contest for citizen participation and local open government

Bloomberg Philanthropies recently launched the Mayors Challenge, a contest for funding in the European Union where large cities submit new, innovative ideas for solving local problems.

The EU contest is modeled on a similar competition for cities in the United States, where more than 300 cities submitted ideas covering issues ranging from sustainable development to education to citizen development. The grand prize of that contest went to a program in Providence, R.I. that works to improve the vocabulary of children in low-income households. » Read more

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Drupal shop in the DC area makes technology work for the unemployed

change through open government

When the US Federal government shutdown from October 1 - 16 this year, a small Drupal shop in the Washington DC area turned a list of freelance gigs for furloughed employees in a Google doc into a website in five hours. Unfurlough.us went live at 1:00 am EST on October 4, accumulating 50,000 page views in a little over a week. » Read more

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Open data should be for justice

open data in government

 

These are my reflections on CityCamp Minnesota 2013, which occurred at St. Thomas in Minneapolis on November 9, 2013.

 What was it, and what worked well?

CityCamp MN 2013, hosted by Open Twin Cities and E-Democracy.org, was an event for civic hackers, open data nerds and advocates, and social justice-minded individuals in the region. Saturday was an open space technology-style unconference event. It was brilliantly planned. While I’ve never been to an unconference before, I was impressed by the way it generally fostered a sense of community, conversation, and connection. This stands in opposition to most conferences I attend (and that is a pretty decent number), which primarily serve to foster a few connections in the hallways between tedious and oftentimes irrelevant-to-me presentations. » Read more

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The European Commission's Neelie Kroes believes in open

Neelie Kroes, VP of the European Commission (EC)

Neelie Kroes, VP of the European Commission (EC), has a website called Comment Neelie to initiate and maintain a two-way conversation between herself, as a politician, and the public, as citizens. Kroes says that it's "a channel to communicate, not just broadcast." » Read more

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The Federal Trade Commission sets its sights on Patent Aggression Entities

patent reform

Just before the shutdown of the Federal Government last month, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) took a first and important step to examine critical questions surrounding Patent Aggression Entities (PAEs): » Read more

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How a hackathon can transform your community

Hack the Stacks

What started as an uphill battle in Burlington, Vermont on the National Day of Civic Hacking in June 2013, transversed into an understanding between local government, non-profits, the media, and the community four months later. What they came to understand was that we can grow stronger when we work together. When we partner. When we work on stuff that matters.

Robert Coleburn, a Technology Librarian (and systems administrator) at Fletcher Free Library, jumped at the opportunity to partner with Code for Burlington, a Code for America brigade, to help host a hackathon on the last weekend in October called Hack the Stacks. The event drew over 30 people volunteering to improve their community through open source technology. » Read more

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How civic hackers can build apps that last

open government apps

This is a condensed version of the blog post: Hey Civic Hackers! How about leaving the ninja skills at home and building really useful applications? It includes more analogies and cars. Comments welcome.


Most hackers are deeply involved in the tech scene. They keep up to date with the latest technologies and will use tech that is in the early phases of adoption. They have no problem using cloud services, NoSQL data stores, languages with smaller communities, and target more recent browsers or phones. They don't mind doing custom configurations on server software, they probably already know some of the maintainers of the project and can get special help, and they know other hackers who they can reach out to. They generally come from a startup world or at least from software companies where budgets and skill sets are generally high for employees.

» Read more

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