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Contribution : "The Open Data from every angle" by Clara-Doïna Schmelck

In Paris or in New York, the Open Data, this public fund of mega-data appears as the finished form of a participative and responsible citizenship. The key stake is the implementing of trust with citizens.

The Open Data, a public treasure 3.0?

This digital technology aims to give biggest capital cities a more human aspect. In New York, which claims to be a pioneer in open data issues, shops and cultural places are more and more taking part of the advertising for “NYC Open Data” services. This famous service has been designed for gathering and exploiting public data wealth produced by several organisms from Big Apple and others from the town and for making them public.

The Web site from the Paris Town Council is describing the Open Data as the invention of a contemporary public treasure. This catalogue, funds without bottom, is offering an access to a reference document gathering all the data readable by citizens.

“This data can be used by everyone who wants to participate by their own in searching for data, even in creating application. Data is a two-way public service”, is delighted a New York town council representative. The Big Apple states the Open Data as a revolutionary technology, able to create level relations between citizens and city servant.

Even if Open Data used to be a companies and local authority prerogative, it is becoming more and more a state one. By the end of 2014, 20% of the States around the world will appoint a Chief Data Officer to run their digital strategies. Henri Verdier has just been appointed “administrateur géneral des données” in France on September the 22th. On his blog he considers Open Data essential for state modernization, for that reason this technology enables it to seize productivity and efficiency gains brought by digital.

The Open Data rise will be based on trust

This technology device can also be a way of implementing efficient because targeted policies towards excluded people.

Open Data is a citizenship issue since it tries to model understated data from impoverished citizens, which are no longer access fundamental city services. If they were known and exploited, they would bring about a housing and employment policy efficient because finely targeted.

But this initiative is colliding with one difficulty. “Those who are finding shelter in the streets are the ones whom society does not take a census of. The most of these men and women are ex-convicts, delinquents on the run or junkies” analyses Stéphane Tonnelat, sociologist and Research Officer for the CNRS. He is directing an ethnographic work on various sorts of public urban spaces in Paris and New York which have considerably contributed to develop Open Data within these two cities.

How will these inhabitants, and even all the citizens sense Open Data when this technology will probe them? Will they consider it a citizen gesture or a constraint for individual liberties?

What model Open Data is based in? Is it in a helpful model or in a monitoring one?

If the public debate tends towards inflexibility about these issues, it is because governments still need to improve their communication about public data. Trust will be a determining parameter in the Open Data development for the next years.

About Clara-Doïna Schmelck

" She is journalist, head of the « Media » section from Intégrales Mag, which is the pure player for Intégrales Productions, a presse agency specialised in television coverages around Europe, Middle East and Africa. She often publishes leading articles in RFI Atelier des médias, MétaMédia, France TV Info but also CB News, Libération and Le Plus de l’Obs. She is graduated from ENS, and she holds a philosophy master, leading her to become attached to information and new communication forms stakes."

Her blog :

On Twitter : @ClaraSchmelck