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A true “revolution” through data will be one that enables all of us to hold our governments accountable for fulfilling their obligations, and to play an informed and active role in decisions fundamentally affecting their well-being. We believe such a revolution requires ambitious commitments to make data open; invest in the ability of all stakeholders to use data effectively; and to commit to protecting the rights to information, free expression, free association and privacy, without which data-driven accountability will wither on the vine.

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Data from one enforcement vendor, for instance, showed that takedown efforts increase sales of ebooks. But the automation has also meant that perfectly legal content has been flagged for takedown. This can be amusing when copyright owners flag their own content. But it’s less funny when legitimate work gets caught in automated sweeps. Techdirt’s Mike Masnick flags the example of Warner Bros.’s Wrath of the Titans: Takedown notices went out for the movie’s IMDB page–and also for articles from BBC America and the Charleston Post & Courier. It’s hard to say how often these sorts of mistakes happen or what sort of impact they’re having on people who are trying to use copyrighted content legitimately online, because there’s little transparency from anyone involved in this system–not from ISPs and search engines, not from content creators and enforcement vendors, and certainly not from content pirates. That’s part of what the Takedown Project–a collaboration led by Berkeley Law School, where Urban now works, and the American Assembly–is meant to address. The project’s researchers are trying to look comprehensively at “the impact of automat[ing] both sending and receiving process of notice and takedown” and to survey online services providers about their half of this system.

On February 25, the Institute of Law under China’s Academy of Social Science (CASS) and the Social Sciences Academic Press jointly released the Annual Report on China’s Rule of Law (the Blue Book on the Rule of Law). The Blue Book contains a report on the indices of the transparency of the Chinese government based on the evaluation of 55 government departments under the State Council. The Ministry of Education ranked first with the highest score, while the National Railway Bureau ranked last with zero points. With 100 points as the perfect score, the top five were as follows: The Ministry of Education (65.082); The State Administration of Work Safety (64.033); The National Development and Reform Commission (63.454); The Ministry of Commerce (61.635); and The General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection, and Quarantine (60.7351). The bottom five were The State Administration of Radio, Film, and Television (33.252); The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (25.3353); The Ministry of Justice (25.2854); The State Bureau for Letters and Calls (19.9555); and The National Railway Bureau (0).

Since Jan. 1, the central government has required 15,000 factories — including influential state-run enterprises — to publicly report details on their air emissions and water discharges in real time, an unprecedented degree of disclosure that is shedding light on the who, what, when and where of China’s devastating environmental problems. The reporting requirement is part of a striking turnaround by China’s government, which is also publishing data on the sootiest cities and trying to limit the use of coal. The country’s appalling air is blamed for more than a million premature deaths a year, for producing acid rain that damages the nation’s agriculture, for driving away tourists and even for encouraging the brightest students to study abroad. Perhaps just as important, Beijing’s bad air has been making its Communist leaders lose face.

The National Orientation Agency was established with the mandate of enlightening Nigerians on government policies, programmes and activities, as well as mobilize public support for same. It is also saddled with the responsibility to re-orientate the attitudes of Nigerians and provide a feedback to government on the people’s feelings and reactions towards its policies and activities, thus expanding the space for public input into government decision-making process.