Are democracies better at practicing open government than less free societies? 70 countries profiled in the Open Knowledge Foundation’s Open Data Index were analyzed and the rankings were compared against the 2013 Global Democracy. As a tenet of open government in the digital age, open data practices serve as one indicator of an open government. Overall, there is a strong relationship between democracy and transparency.
Open data provides big benefits for sustainability. The European Parliament adopted a directive on disclosure of non-financial and diversity information on 15 April 2014 meaning many EU companies will now be required to disclose information on policies, risks and outcomes linked to environmental performance, social and employee-related aspects, respect for human rights, anti-corruption practices, bribery issues, and diversity.
The City of Melbourne (population, 4.4 million) in Australia has launched its pilot open data platform and is looking to engage with its citizens to continue improving the platform. The platform now gives citizens access to machine-readable data under open licenses, which they can reuse. The pilot platform is part of the City’s Open Data programme to increase transparency, improve public services, and support new economic and social initiatives. The City is also developing an Open Data Policy as part of this programme.
The European Parliament will be releasing result information from the EU parliamentary elections in open data format. Among the raw data it is making available to the media and the general public will be EU-wide and national election results for both 2009 and 2014, turn-out information, seats by political group and member states and the number of male and female MEPs. The names of the political groups will be available in all of the EU's 24 official languages.
A recent European Court Justice (ECJ) ruling may affect how privacy, transparency, and open data interact and has a direct relation with growing discussion about the “right to be forgotten”. The ruling states that organizations which publish information may be obliged to “take down” and remove information when an individual requests that removal even when the information is true and is a matter of “public record”. This is potentially a significant change, adding to the work and responsibilities not just of big corporations like Google, but also to the creators of open databases big and small. Discussion on this and related topics in area of open data and privacy are available in the (Personal Data, Privacy and Open Data working group.)[Personal Data, Privacy and Open Data working group.]