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Open data charter stewards big step closer to final principles

Open data charter stewards big step closer to final principles

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During the gathering of the Condatos conference this week in Santiago, Chile, the Stewards of the Open Data Charter came one big step closer to finalizing the common, global principles to guide the progress of open data around the world in the years to come.

The last time Stewards met in person was at  the International Open Data Charter in Ottawa, Canada in May, when  they launched an online, global consultation on the draft Charter principles at opendatacharter.net. Through July and August, open data experts in a huge variety of sectors and locations around the world provided their comments and feedback, setting out their hopes and expectations for the Charter.

The response to this consultation was overwhelming – in 2 short months, over 350 commenters responded in English, Spanish, and French.

Some commenters noted that the Charter should make specific reference to the importance of privacy. After all, the value of open data can only be unlocked when governments respect their obligation to protect citizens’ privacy, making sure their people’s identifying information is never shared publicly without their consent. Commenters also suggested that the Charter principles could go further in recognizing the integral role open data can play in supporting sustainable development around the world, for example by identifying and tracking social and economic challenges. They also told the Stewards that the Charter needs to be clearer about the value of standardized, interoperable data. The best hope we have for generating innovations based on open data is by comparing and tracking data within and between sectors, across geographic locations, and over time.

Here in Santiago this week, the Stewards took these comments and others, and focused on integrating them into the language of the Charter. After many hours of work and more than a few polite but passionate debates, we are now doing the final checks to make sure the i’s are dotted and the t’s are crossed.

The final Charter principles should be open and available to the public in just a few weeks, when, on the margins of the 2015 United Nations General Assembly, the Government of Mexico will call governments to action – inviting heads of state and senior officials from governments around the world to re-dedicate themselves to open data by signaling their intention to support and adopt the Open Data Charter.

As always with open data, the work is far from over. Stewards will be gearing up their work in the coming weeks, forming working groups focused on ongoing engagement with city governments and private sector organizations, and developing supporting resources to help governments who want to implement the principles of the Charter.

As always, hearing feedback from the open data community has been gratifying and energizing. We have made the Charter better and stronger, and we are excited for the next big steps in this important global principles movement. We invite you all to keep following our work atopendatacharter.net. If you would like more information or you want to know more about how to get involved, feel free to contact Lead Stewards atinfo@opendatacharter.net