FOI Notes: Open Data, Fighting Corruption, Brazil, Canada, Russia

31 December 2012

Open Data/New York: The New York state Committee on Open Government makes transparency and accountability recommendations, proposing to obligate agencies to make their information available in open data format, either by legislation or by an order of the governor.  The committee recommends the state “push” information through proactive disclosure by releasing material that is the subject of frequent disclosure requests, information that pertains to matters of “significant public interest,” or data that could be disclosed at less cost than be incurred through processing a freedom of information request. The committee also proposes to make the state legislature subject to the FOI law. Also, tentative collective bargaining agreements between public employers and unions should be disclosed. The committee also recommends that the names of retirees receiving taxpayer-funded pensions be available.

Open Data/Journalism: A Knight Foundation essay on why journalists need to get behind the open data movement.

Brazil: A new law in Brazil requires the disclosure of taxes when consumers make purchases. The significance of the change is examined by Brazilian blogger and professor Greg Michener in Al Jazeera. He comments that tax transparency “ought to produce pressures for better government, greater support for badly-needed tax reform, and a broader understanding between businesses and consumers.”

Anti-Corruption Monitoring: The Transparency International US Civil Society Procurement Monitoring (CSPM) Tool. The CSPM is an online tool to support Civil Society Organizations that want to monitor public procurement for red flags of corruption. It was tested in Indonesia and the Philippines. and we have received positive initial feedback. See a brief tutorial video.

Canada: The Toronto Star writes about secrecy in government and Canada’s freedom of information regimes at all levels of government.

Russia: The Russian Freedom of Information Foundation together with the Russian Legal Information Agency (RAPSI) monitored general jurisdiction courts’ official websites in order to reveal actual problems of access to information on court activities in Russia. (In Russian)

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