Information Policy: Public Sector Information


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Syracuse University iSchool IST 618, Information Policy group presentation about public sector information.

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Information Policy: Public Sector Information

  1. 1. PublicSectorInformation Nick Dunsmore Jessica McDonald Laurie Tewksbury Yong Yi Syracuse University School of Information Studies: IST 618
  2. 2. PSI[public sector information] “Information, includinginformationproducts and services, generated, created,collected, processed, preserved,maintained, disseminated, or funded by orfor the Government or publicinstitution.” (OECD, 2008).
  3. 3. Health PSI [categories] Weather  Legislative Papers  Geographic Information  Legislative and Judicial Proceedings  Social and Economic Statistics  Food and Water Resources Information  Financial Reports  
  4. 4. Why does the Governmentcollect Public Sector Information?The economic, social, and political values of PSI all havethe potential to enable a more effective andtransparent government, a healthier and competitiveeconomy, as well as a more knowledgeable andresponsible citizenry (Sharif).
  5. 5. General public Public Sector Information ProvidesValue & Benefits to
  6. 6. Government SectorIt is comprehensive, as much of the information results from statutoryrequirements such as business and vehicle registrations; it often covers long timeperiods, having been collected for decades; and it is generally accurate becausesignificant resources are invested in its collection and analysis (Zakaria, 2000). New developments leading toward PSI commercialization & the generation of revenue: •  increasing commercial pressure for access to Government information; •  the expansion of the information industry; •  increasing dependence on information by many organizations and the expansion of information intensive industries; •  increasing use of the Internet and the electronic exchange of data; •  the development of electronic access to government departments; and •  a push by Governments toward identifying new means of income generation - selling of large datasets, maintained and distributed electronically.
  7. 7. Private SectorUses the information to achieve social and commercial value as well as efficiency. By assessing information, the private sector will help in turning this information into anarray of tailored products and services for the public. The National Weather Service (NWS) is ‘going digital’! National Digital Forecast Database will be accessible to all and will use digital data toimprove communication of forecast information. –  Provide weather, water and climate forecasts and warnings and will provide a database for government agencies, private sector, public, global community. The NWS and the private sector will work together to “foster translation ofenvironmental data and forecasts into information supporting public safety andpromoting economic growth” (NWS).
  8. 8. Information IndustriesIn the US, open and unrestricted access to public sector information has resulted inthe rapid growth of information-intensive industries—especially with geographic andenvironmental information. Growth potential for the geographic information industry: lowering the price of publicsector geographic data by 60% would lead to a 40% annual turnover growth plusemployment growth of approximately 800 jobs. Companies that pay a much lower price for public sector information will invest thesesavings in the development of new products, thereby expanding the potential market(NWS). Revenues from the public sector lead geospatial market growth and account for morethan one-third of total revenue (United State Dept. of Labor).
  9. 9. Scientific CommunitiesWith more technology, more widespread and efficient access to sharing of data isexpected to have great benefits for public scientific research. More efficient, effective and better connected, thereby expanding scope. “ Open access to, and sharing of, data reinforces open scientific inquiry, encourages diversity of analysis and opinion, promotes new research, makes possible the testing of new or alternative hypotheses and methods of analysis, supports studies on data collection methods and measurement, facilitates the education of new researchers, enables the exploration of topics not envisioned by the initial investigators, and permits the ” creation of new data sets when data from multiple sources are combined (Arzberger et al., 2004).
  10. 10. Civil Society OrganizationsThere are many areas that could benefit from public sector information such as: Good Governance Public HealthEnvironmental protection Poverty EradicationPublic health – enhance health facility utilization, disease tracking, health trends,location and asset management (Cromley, et al., 2002) Environmental protection – land-use management and planning, urban planning anddevelopment, water and air quality assessments, property assessment and tax policydevelopment (Clarke, et al., 2002). Poverty eradication – geo-referenced spatial information and statistics will become areal tool for reducing poverty (Blakemore, et al., 2006) –  poverty maps can also be created to understand relationships between poverty and climate conditions, elevation, access to transportation, exposure to natural disasters (CIESEN, 2006)
  11. 11. General PublicPSI that is available to the public, including taxes, education, health services, housingissues, and safety matters allows the general public to improve their well-being and beproductive citizens (Sharif).  Inform citizens of their rights and responsibilities Educate them/provide opportunities for life-long learning Preserve cultural and historical information for the future  
  12. 12. But what about ACCESS & REUSE ? of Public Sector Information
  13. 13. United States [access and reuse] The U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) administers all federal public data. Thedata is collected from all federal agencies and branches of government and is freelyavailable to the public. As an effort to keep the people informed about what is goingon in the government, all information is free to the public. For reuse for commercial purposes, reasonable fees are applied. (Cornell)
  14. 14. United States[access and reuse] The policies create an open and transparentGovernment that the people/tax payersshould be able to see what information theGovernment is handling and how it is beingused. It is also a tool for the Government tokeep the public informed on what is going onin the country. Depending for what the information is used,the limited fees lower the barriers to accessthe information, which allows for greatercommercial access and more innovation. Thisbenefits the economy as a whole in terms ofjobs investments and greater competition inthe market place.
  15. 15. European Union[access and reuse] The European Union has Directive 2003/98/EC, whichgave the framework for public entities to share theirinformation with the public. Since it was just aframework, laws on PSI vary from country to country. Some barriers for people gaining public informationhave been fees, competing public entities, and publicentities failing to see the economic benefits of re-useof PSI, which the European Union estimates at 140billion Euros. All European Union branches ofgovernment information is available for public access(Europes Information Society). The European Union wants governments to betransparent as much as they can. But since theEuropean Union lacks the centralized control rightnow it can only give the frameworks on how theirmember countries will govern their PSI.
  16. 16. Germany[access and reuse] Need to file an application and pay a fee toaccess the public information. Most policy is not made at the federal level butat the individual district levels. “Most public and private actors agree that thestrong federalism in the German public geo-information production – causing thefragmentation of data stocks and pricing policies– is the core problem which needs to be tackledin order to fully reap the benefits of a growinggeographic PSI re-use sector (Deloitte, et al.,2011). Since the governance of the release of PSI is withthe different regions it causes confusion on howto reuse the data. There are many different waysthe information is released with many differentfees. The system is not set up well enough tomaximize the economic effects of the reuse ofPSI.
  17. 17. Spain[access and reuse] Free use of PSI for both commercial and noncommercial purposes. There is free licensing based on a massdownload service (Deloitte, et al., 2011). Spain has a very open form of government; it iseven more impressive since the government isvery decentralized so the level of openness andability to maximize economic benefits is great. The justification is that everyone should haveaccess to taxpayer funded activities, theadvantages have been millions of downloads ayear of the data and large economic benefits. Adisadvantage of the policy would be that youcould charge a minimal fee and demand wouldstill exist.
  18. 18. France[access and reuse] Charges fees for public information for reuse, they usedto charge excessive amounts for the PSI but has sincerevised their licensing and fee structure in 2011 tomatch a more market based approach for theinformation. People can access the information in paper,or digitalized (Deloitte, et al., 2011). The restrictive nature of France’s release of PSI hasbeen a huge opportunity cost to the economy. Thegovernment was seeking to maximize revenue from thesale of PSI for commercial use but due to the high feesthey ended up losing revenue due to decrease indemand. An advantage being that it pushes commercial to seekout another vendor for that information, which createsa secondary market for similar to PSI in the privatesector. A disadvantage would be that it is creating minimaleconomic benefits by maintaining high barriers.
  19. 19. Italy[access and reuse] Italy seeks to maximize revenue from the use of PSI. Aheavy tax was placed on the reuse of PSI, and a feeincrease of over 550% for raw data for reuse. People trying to access the information must alsoprovide a legal interest, and it is still quite restrictedinformation (Deloitte, et al., 2011). The Italian Government is trying to maximize revenuefrom the use PSI by adding fees and taxes on its use toaid itself during harsh economic times. The Government also restricts access to only peoplewith legal justification to access the information. Thepolicies restrict access to tax payer funded information,creating a less transparent environment. An advantage, similar to France, it creates a secondarymarket for PSI like information that commercialenterprise can purchase.
  20. 20. Sweden[access and reuse] Principle of public access: “The principle of public access means that the general public and the mass media newspapers, radio and television are to be guaranteed an unimpeded view of activities pursued by the government and local authorities. ” Fees are applied for commercial reuse. (European PublicSector Information Platform) Everyone is allowed toread public documents held by public authoritiesfreedom of expression for civil servants and others,including to mass media court proceedings are open tothe public. Transparency seems to be the biggest reason for thesepolicies; the Swedish government wants to make allinformation available to hold the governmentaccountable without threat of punishment. Anadvantage is that all information is available to the public,a disadvantage is that for reuse there are fees attachedto getting that PSI.
  21. 21. South Africa[access and reuse] Has built freedom to information in their constitution. The Promotion of Access to Information Act governs thepolicy of how to access the information. Citizens havetotal access to any information from the government,replication fees do apply. An interesting part of the act allows someone to accessto any information held by “another person that isrequired for the exercise or protection of any right.” A web based portal is provided for commercial use toaccess information (Access To Information). They have created a system to allow uninhibited access tothe information. For commercial purposes, a web portalwas created with guidelines and methods of getting thePSI for reuse. An advantage of this method is it creates amore open society and government, and greatereconomic benefits. A disadvantage is that is oddly invasivefor a private citizen.
  22. 22. Pakistan[access and reuse] In 2002, Pakistan enacted the Freedom ofInformation Ordinance, which allowed citizensto access any government information exceptfor government owned entities. Theeffectiveness of the law has been challenged bya NGO called Center for Peace andDevelopment Initiatives (Abbasi, 2012). Limited information is available; the originalintention was to allow open access andtransparency for the people. Reports suggestthat the law has not lived up to expectations.An advantage would be that people have toability to access what the government is doingand stay informed. A disadvantage would bethat the system isn’t sharing that information.
  23. 23. Hong Kong[access and reuse] Has no formal policy set up by legislators, butthey do have the Code on Access to Information.This created the Access to Information Officer inall government entities; their task is to answercitizen requests for information. The informationthough is very limited and fees maybe charged(The Code on Access to Information). The issue of sharing PSI does not seem to havetaken a high priority in the Hong Kong councilthat legislates the island the policy was createdthrough executive action. It was created with theintention to create an open government. Anadvantage would be that it does just that bysetting up an Access to information Officer in allgovernment agencies. A disadvantage is thataccess is limited to a request directly to theofficer, there is no web based portal to access theinformation.
  24. 24. China[access and reuse] The General Office of the State Council governs the opengovernment information work. Set up by the Regulations ofthe People’s Republic of China on Open GovernmentInformation. The law sets out to: 1.  Disclose government information promptly and accurately. 2.  Administrative agencies should establish and perfect a coordination mechanism for releasing government information. 3.  The government information disclosed administrative agencies may not endanger state security. The government is trying to create a more opengovernment, since the credibility of the government with itscitizens has diminished over the past few years this can beviewed as a method of gaining some of that lost respect. Anadvantage is that it creates a more transparent system thatcitizens can participate more in the process. A disadvantageis that there are no clear terms for reuse, so it can beimplied that PSI for reuse is a case by case basis.
  25. 25. In developing countries, PSI starts with the ability to access the information and how accessible the information is to the public. There is no popular rule of thumb for developing countries when it comes any laws for access to PSI (see: Freedom of Information Around the World for a list of countries and their Freedom of Information Laws). The Internet will be a game changer for developing countries as it won’t cost as much to provide access to PSI. PSI will be an incredible asset in developing countries to build a knowledge economy, become competitive, provide education, govern fairly, enhance overall public quality of life, etc. (Sharif). Public Sector Information in theDeveloping World
  26. 26. Public Sector Information in the Aspects of Government between Developed andDeveloping World Developing Countries (Chen, et al., 2007) Developed Countries Developing Countries History and Culture •  Government and economy developed early, •  Government usually not specifically immediately after independence defined; economy not increasing in •  Economy growing at a constant rate, productivity productivity increasing, high standard of living •  Economy not growing or increasing •  Relatively long history of democracy and more productivity; low standard of living transparent government policy and rule •  Relatively short history of democracy and less transparent government policy and rule Technical Staff •  Has a current staff, needs to increase technical •  Does not have a staff, or has very limited abilities and hire younger professionals in-house staff •  Has outsourcing abilities and financial •  Does not have local outsourcing abilities resources to outsource; current staff would be and rarely has the financial ability to able to define requirements for development outsource; current staff may be unable to define specific requirements Infrastructure •  Superior current infrastructure •  Inferior current infrastructure •  High Internet access for employees and •  Low Internet access for employees and citizens citizens Citizens •  High Internet access and computer literacy; •  Low Internet access and citizens are still has digital divide and privacy issues reluctant to trust online services; few •  Relatively more experienced in democratic citizens know how to operate computers system and more actively participate in •  Relatively less experienced in democratic governmental policy-making process system and less actively participate in governmental policy-making process Government Officers •  Decent computer literacy and dedication of •  Low computer literacy and dedication of resources; many do not place electronic resources; many do not place electronic government at a high priority government at a high priority due to lack of knowledge on the issue
  27. 27. Public Sector Information in the Developing World The following factors lead to higher E-Government maturity in a country and can all be achieved through aid from PSI (Ifinedo, 2011). Economic Factors Wealth (GDP per capita) available to a country Technological Factors   Technological infrastructure available in a country Technological innovative capacity of a country Social Factors   Human capital resource available in a country Transparency (low corruption perceptions) in a country Political Factors   Rule of law in a country Civil liberties in a country Political rights in a country Government efficiency in a country
  28. 28. PSI Implementation Example: Nigeria (Daniel, 2004) •  Adopting a national policy on ICT The Federal Government of Nigeria has applications in agriculture, health, increased efforts to provide public sector education, military and other sectors information through E-Government. The aim is to improve the flow of information from •  Enacting a National Communication Act the government to its citizens, from citizens and appointing an independent regulatory to government and within government body departments, by setting up relevant Internet and Intranet systems for federal, state and •  Launching a data and research satellite in local governments including: 2003 with plans for a communications satellite in 2006 Public Sector Information in the •  Setting up NITDA (National Information TechnologyDeveloping World Development Agency) •  Promoting cyber-specific laws to ensure security in the use of e-mail and other Internet-based operations
  29. 29. TI ON icy EN DA MM l i v e Po COE ffect RE Free and open system: all government information that does not violate privacy or national security would be freely accessible for personal and commercial use.
  30. 30. This would create a more transparent environment regardinggovernment by allowing people to more easily participate in theprocess and hold officials responsible for actions taken. It would alsogive more credibility to government operations if more people areable to see what is happening. For commercial reasons, it would lower the cost of acquiring theinformation and allow governments to allocate the capital towardsmore innovation which is a positive impact for the economy since thatinvestment creates jobs and more wealth for the nation. TI ON icy EN DA MM l ive Po CO E ffect RE
  31. 31. PSI [in conclusion]Free access to PSI provides the foundation of a greater society.Public sector entities that are sponsored by tax payers shouldbe providing access to their information. This creates atransparent public sector, which increases confidence in theseinstitutions.
  32. 32. PSI [in conclusion]Free access to PSI also provides new economic opportunity,especially in high technology growth areas around the world.Third world countries can now fully utilize their resources tocreate wealth and economic opportunity. The reuse of PSIcreates a larger multiplier effect than its initial investment.
  33. 33. PSI [in conclusion]Countries that provide access to PSI can reap a multitude ofeconomic, social and political benefits: Increased quality of Increase in Transparency and Positivelife for public innovation, goods trust in environmental(health, education, and services Governments effects poverty, etc.)
  34. 34. ReferencesAbbasi, A. (2012, June 28). NGO exposes farce of freedom of information law. Retrieved from The News: Access To Information. (n.d.). Retrieved from South Africa: Arzberger, et al. (2004). Promoting access to public research data for science, economic, and social development. Data Science Journal, CODATA, p.135-152. Blakemore, M. and Cragila, C. (2006). Access to Public Sector Information in Europe: Policy, Rights and Obligations. The Information Society, 22:13-24. Chen, Y., Chen, H., Ching, R. K., & Huang, W. W. (2007, April-June). Electronic Government Implementation: A Comparison between Developed and Developing Countries. International Journal of Electronic Government Research, pp. 45-61. CIESIN (Center for International Earth Science Information Network), Columbia University. 2006. Where the Poor Are: An Atlas of Poverty. Palisades, NY: Columbia University. Available at: Clarke, K. C., Parks, B. O., and Crane, M. P. (Eds) (2002). Geographic Information Systems and Environmental Modeling, Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ. Cornell. (n.d.). 5 USC § 552 - Public information; agency rules, opinions, orders, records, and proceedings. Retrieved from Legal Information Institute: Cromley, E. and McLafferty, S. (2002) GIS and Public Health. Guilford Press.
  35. 35. ReferencesDaniel, A. (2004, March 16). Government via on-line takes off soon. The Guardian (Nigerian), pp. 41,45.  Deloitte. (n.d.). European Commission Information Society and Media. Retrieved from European Union: Directorate For Science, Technology, and Industry Committee for Information, Computer and Communications Policy. (2005). Digital Broadband Content: Public Sector Information and Content. Available at: Europes Information Society-Reuse Policies. (n.d.). Retrieved from European Union: GPO. (n.d.). Government Printing Office. Retrieved from Ifinedo, P. (2011, November). Factors Influencing E-government Maturity in Transition Economies and Developing Countries: A Longitudinal Perspective. The DATA BASE for Advances in Information Systems, pp. 98-116. Johnson, Edward. Public-Private Sector Roles: NWS Goes Digital. National Weather Service. Available at: Mayo, E. and Steinberg, T. (2007). The Power of Information Review. OPSI, London. Available at: Mutula, S., & Wamukoya, J. M. (2009, October). Public sector information management in east and southern Africa: Implications for FOI, democracy and integrity in government. International Journal of Information Management, pp. 333-341. OECD. (2008). OECD recommendation of the council for enhanced access and more effective use of public sector information. Retrieved from
  36. 36. ReferencesRegulations of the Peoples Republic of China on Open Government Information. (n.d.). Retrieved from Yale Law: Ricolfi, M. (n.d.). Publications Archive. Retrieved March 10, 2013, from LAPSI:,%20Intellectual%20Property%20Data%20and %20Developing%20Countries.pdf Sharif, Raed. Maximizing the Value of Public Sector Information for Scientific and Socioeconomic Development in Africa. Syracuse University. Available at: Sweden: new law on PSI reuse published. (n.d.). Retrieved from European Public Sector Information Plateform: The Code on Access to Information. (n.d.). Retrieved from The Principle of Public Access. (n.d.). Retrieved from Sweden: United States Department of Labor: Employment and Training Administration (2010). High Growth Industry Profile – Geospatial Technology. Available at: Weiss, Peter. (2002). Borders in Cyberspace: Conflicting Public Sector Information Policies and their Economic Impacts. National Weather Service. Available at: Zakaria, A. H., & McBride, N. (2000). The commercialisation of public sector information within UK government departments. The International Journal of Public Sector Management, 13(7), 552-570. Retrieved from