EU

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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European Commission digital agenda and cloud strategy

eu flag

The European Commission (EC), the central governing body of the EU, has in the past several years pursued ICT policies that increasingly have been good for "openness" in the areas of standards, data, and software. Its recent announcements on cloud computing have continued this theme.

However, as with any broad strategy of this magnitude, there are parts of the strategy (many well-meaning) that could lead to trouble. Attention, engagement, and follow-up with the Commission are needed to assure a positive outcome.

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Exploring open source software developed for European libraries

open source libraries

Developers and project managers involved in open source software projects for public libraries in Denmark, France, the Netherlands, and the Czech Republic took a first step to learn more about each other's work. Meeting in a Google Hangout, they introduced their open source software projects, aiming to get ideas for future developments. The Danish 'T!ng' (Ting) project came first. T!ng aims to make most of the resources at the libraries available in the form of web services. Almost 60% of all Danish municipal libraries are involved in this software and IT services project.

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The U.K. Cabinet Office solves the open standards policy conundrum

two countries

Governments certainly have more than enough to concern themselves with these days—financial crises, natural disasters and terrorism, to name just a few. Given that’s the case, it’s surprising that so many are finding the time to worry about what kind of standards the products and services they purchase comply with. But they are.

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Best of Open Data: Winners of the Open Data Challenge

Last week, the winners of the Open Data Challenge were announced at the First Digital Agenda Assembly in Brussels. The competition was divided into three main  categories: idea, application and visualization.

The winner in the idea category was bePart a mobile application that could increase citizen participation in urban projects. A citizen would be able to see current plans for urban construction projects  and review data regarding the project, such as consultation dates, cost, or duration of the implementation. The proposal urges the use of open infrastructure to build the application. » Read more

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Belgian court rules that Google infringes newspaper copyrights

The Belgian Court of Appeals ruled this week that Google is infringing the copyrights of Belgian newspapers by linking to and posting portions of the articles on Google news. Google must remove all articles and photos from Belgian newspapers in French and German or face a fine of 20,000 euros per day.
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European Commission stands against vendor lock-in

Lock on a building

After a decade-long battle, terms of a settlement agreement were finally reached last week between the European Commission and Microsoft regarding anticompetitiveness. The official settlement is a win for European consumers, but the simultaneous Public Undertaking on Interoperability issued by the company leaves much to be desired for the open source community. » Read more

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