In response to the dramatically outdated nature of Canada's now 30 year old Access to Information Act, the Office of the Information Commissioner of Canada has initiated an Open Dialogue Consultation on the need to modernize ATI. Building on submissions from fellow organizations such as BCFIPA, CIPPIC participated in the OIC's consultation, calling for the Access to Information Act to be modernized. Specific modernizations include reduced barriers to ATI requests, a 'digital first' response policy that should lower ATI response costs, and, importantly, exceptions should be narrowed and focused, and subject to a public interest override as well as the need to prove harm will result if information is not withheld. Too often are exceptions relied upon to obscure information that Canadians have a right to know.
More generally, the right to information needs to be conceived in broader terms than reflected in the ATIA. It needs to be exercised more proactively if it is to be achieve its objective within the context of a democratic and technologically innovative society. While the current ATIA focuses on information responses to individual requests, it should additionally obligate periodic and proactive disclosure of important public information. This proactive publication obligation should extend to important data sets in the government's control, so that Canadians can fully benefit from data held and generated by their government. Government-held information is a national resource, generated by public officials in the course of carrying out their public mandates and, ultimately, paid for by public funds. The outdated nature of Canada's ATI regime has become a tangible obstacle to the ability of Canadians to fully benefit from this resource. It is now time to bring our right-to-information system forward into the twenty-first century. For more information visit: http://cippic.ca/open_governance.
In this analysis, CIPPIC looks at the ways in which Canadian open data providers can tap into Creative Commons to improve interoperability amongst their datasets. Overall, we find that data users would have a much easier time combining data from different sources -- for example, compiling together map data from different municipalities and provinces across Canada -- under any of the following approaches:
Open data providers could achieve numerous benefits with any of these methods, all with very minimal legal risk. Our full report is available here: Creative Commons Licenses: Options for Canadian Open Data Providers.
If you're interested in learning more about Open Educational Resources (OER), copyright, and Creative Commons licenses, don't miss the opportunity to participate in the OER Foundation's upcoming online workshop, Open Content Licensing for Educators
. CIPPIC is helping facilitate this course along with numerous other knowledgable experts
in the field.
This is not a new affiliate so much as a re-ignition of the existing Canadian community. Since 2004, a number of volunteers, interns and affiliate leads have supported and promoted CC and the use of open licenses generally in a Canadian context. Our new team, representing three organizations spread across the geographic and cultural expanse of Canada, will help support and lead the CC activities of this community.
Through public outreach, community building, tools, research, and resources our team will work with a network of open supporters to maximize digital creativity, sharing and innovation across Canada. The work of CC Canada is aligned with the overarching vision of Creative Commons — to help provide universal access to research and education, and full participation in culture to drive a new era of development, growth and productivity.
UPDATE: For the latest details on this event, please visit www.opendatasalon.ca.
On March 30th, CIPPIC and the Creative Law Society will host a Creative Commons Salon on the theme of "Open Data". This event is free and everyone is invited to participate. We have an exciting line-up of speakers for you!
With the Open Data movement exploding, this is an opportune time to find out more about it and discuss it. Most major cities in Canada now have open data portals where municipal governments openly and freely release public sector data, such as maps, statistics and other government documents. The federal government is making open data the central focus of is Open Government Initiative in order to increase transparency and citizen participation. Come join us to learn more about this movement!
The federal government is presently seeking input from the public on their "Open Government" initative. This consultation covers open data, open information, and open dialogue. The comments from the public will help the government define a new strategy to improve these important facets of an open and transparent government. Today is the last day to submit comments; thus, if you have not already done so, we strongly encourage you to participate in this consultation now. You can simply step through the government's question-by-question online form at open.gc.ca
You can view CIPPIC's own suggestions for the government here
. We encourage the government to:
release all data on the data.gc.ca portal under a Creative Commons license, or place it into the public domain;
mandate that each government department immediately releases at least several high-value datasets;
create a searchable full-text database of all responses to access to information requests;
move towards a practice of releasing all public sector data and information as the default policy (and holding back information only where there is a legitimate security of privacy risk); and
place all released government documents, reports and other information in a centralized repository and under an open license.
The term Trusted Computing refers to a computer hardware and software design paradigm pioneered by the Trusted Computing Group that aims to make personal computers more secure. The technology ensures that a computer only runs trusted software, and only communicates to other computers that are also running trusted software. Trusted Computing has the potential to increase computer security, but is also controversial because it transfers some control of a computer away from the user to a “trusted” third party.
The basic idea behind open source is very simple. When programmers can read, redistribute, and modify the source code for a piece of software, the software evolves. People improve it; people adapt it; people fix bugs. It has the potential to move at speeds that put proprietary software development to shame.
A brief "how-to" on redistributing data from one or more open data portals.
An analysis of the “share-alike” obligation and how, although it can serve a useful purpose in some contexts, it does not fit well with the objectives of municipal open data portals.
CIPPIC critically examines the Ottawa Open Data License with a view to recommending options for improving the ability of the license to meet the needs of the user community who will benefit from the license.
Office of the Information Commissioner, 2012 Dialogue on Modernizing Access to Information