Open government talk buzzes across Canada

12.03.2010

Open government discussions are buzzing across Canada, with two events last weekend -- the hosted by the City of Edmonton and the conference at the University of Ottawa -- both on the topic.

At the Open City Workshop, a day-long event in Edmonton, a four-member panel discussed everything from what government-as-a-platform means to the challenges of moving towards open government to the potential for creating one massive IT department via a Muniforge.

The first area of concern is security and privacy, said , negotiation and strategy consultant, expert in public policy and open systems and an advisor to the mayor of the . "One thing I am very concerned about is that we are sharing data that doesn't violate people's privacy," he said.

The second challenge is culture, said Eaves. Governments see themselves as delivering a service and needing to control the message, but it is not about control, he said. "It's about influence, and the more you share, the more influence you have," he said.

The third and "single biggest challenge" around open government are legal departments that say "you can't do this," said Eaves. License agreements have to say "please use this and do something with it," but "getting lawyers on board to figure out how to do this is a challenge."