Open Data, Open Resources

Phil Windley, CIO of the state of Utah, gives us a wealth of insights we usually don’t hear from people managing “big iron” systems. I hope he won’t mind me reprinting this report from last Monday:

I did a little reading at lunch in The Transparent Society by David Brin. Brin sets forth the following and calls it an “accountability matrix:”

1. Tools that help me see what others are up to. 2. Tools that prevent others from seeing what I am up to.
3. Tools that help others see what I am up to. 4. Tools that prevent me from seeing what others are up to.

His contention is that people see boxes (1) and (2) as good and boxes (3) and (4) as bad.  What society needs is boxes (1) and (3) since that creates accountability.  Further, society should eschew boxes (2) and (4) since that pits citizens against each other in “an arms race of masks, secrets, and indignation.” 

This point speaks directly to the data issues we’ve been looking at in this design study. Let’s imagine an economy entirely made up of bloggers. Do bloggers worry about there privacy? Not really. In addition to the blogger’s URL and email address, any industrious reader can dig a little and know where a blogger lives, her phone number, etc. Bloggers willingly give up their anonymity in the interests of the truth they wish to share.

“After 9-11, we have a right to privacy but not anonymity.”
                          – (source spaced out, not withheld)

In the blogger economy, Brin’s boxes (1) & (3) would be part of the transaction software, and boxes (2) & (4) would not. Further, the likely features of the software would be:

  1. Transaction records under the control of each blogger, like their blogs
  2. No central transaction database, like blogs
  3. Expose the quality of participation in every transaction, like the links to individual blog posts
  4. Beyond some standardization, variability in the information types, like each blogger’s navigation links
  5. A means to aggregate quality ratings and expose them for comparison participation skills, probably using RSS, like blogs
  6. A means to streamline the introduction of new bloggers into the Bloggers’ Economy, As bloggers help newbies like me.
  7. A global web of links among the participating bloggers, as is already the case.
  8. Blogger appreciation is currently linkage & blogrolling; In the Bloggers’ Economy, it’s likely to be money

It’s hard to beat the blogger ethic as a guideline for our design study.

It will be easy for individuals to adopt such protocols but very hard for corporations, which think their value lies in what the hide from others. They’re only now beginning to guess that their value is in what they expose to others.

11:46:01 PM    

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