Despite starting late, Spain is now on the correct path to Open Government. And it is not the only one: all European countries still have a long way to go before reaching a real open government. That was the conclusion we could draw from the roundtable ""O-gov: creating value through the reuse of public sector information", which was held last November 19 in the International Forum of Digital Contents, FICOD 2009, and where, as we told you, Euroalert.net was one of the guests.
Juan Pelegrin, Chris Corbin, Carlos de la Fuente, Jaime Gómez Obregón, and Angel Maldonado Arce Valentín debated along with José Luis Marín, our director, and they extracted a number of interesting conclusions about the current outlook for open government in Europe and in Spain in particular.
Chris Corbin, financial analyst PSI Platform, stressed that Europe has still a long way to reach real open government. Reuse of content is pre-Internet use, but today, advances in telecommunications make redistribution of public sector information much easier than it used to be.
Corbin underlined that one of the things that most improves the quality of information is the actual use: the more people reuses it, the more likely is that useful and interesting to other people or institutions cases generate. In fact, according to British analyst, it is often the same public who just picking up the information that initially came out of it, so a continuous cycle of information with added value increasing appears.
Juan Pelegrin offered an European perspective of the phenomenon, saying that Spain is becoming an example for other countries in relation to the reuse of content from the public sector, thanks to initiatives such as the Aporta project. Anyway, despite the rapid progress that Europe has seen recently, the gap with the United States regarding Open Government is still important.
Reuse, according Pelegrin, is a tool for economic growth. The representative of the Unit of Access to Information of Directorate General Information Society, stated that the European Commission will ensure that the Directive on the reuse of public sector information is being properly implemented, because although it has already been transposed in all Member States, the laws are not correct in many cases.
The Commission takes it seriously, as demonstrated by the public consultation on reuse. It has launched infringement proceedings against Poland, Sweden and Italy, and it will enhance the study of indicators for better understanding of the evolution of their implementation and investigating the exclusivity agreements that limit citizens its right to access the information, which are illegal.
As for Euroalert.net, Jose Luis Marín described the way we approach the public information of the European Union to end users in several European countries, explaining how our technology brings added value to the contents generated by the Community institutions as well as information about tenders and public procurement contracts and project funding opportunities.
As regards to the statement of our director, Corbin wanted to emphasize that public data that we use are public, and therefore the information issuers entities should not try to control the way that those who reuse its information harness it, and this is a purely cultural fact.
Thanks to all who followed the round table in the room or through FICOD TV (where you can still see the video if you did not had the chance to do it), or live-commented on Twitter our activity! It was a great pride to represent all the community that makes possible Euroalert.net in such an important forum.