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Tom Bruce iConference 2010 presentation

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iConference Panel, Thursday, February 4, 2010, University of IL at Urbana-Champaign …

iConference Panel, Thursday, February 4, 2010, University of IL at Urbana-Champaign

http://www.ischools.org/iConference10/2010index/

This was the presentation for Tom Bruce, Director of Cornell's Legal information institute.

For slides and notes, see:

http://freegovinfo.info/node/2897

Roundtable 4 : : Technology Room

• Gone today, Here tomorrow: assuring access to government information in the digital age. ShinJoung Yeo (moderator), University of Illinois; and James R. Jacobs, Stanford University

Panelists:

*James Jacobs
*Thomas Bruce (Legal Information Institute, Cornell University)
*Daniel Schuman (Sunlight Foundation policy director)
*Cindy Etkin (Govt Printing Office)

Published in: Education, Business

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  • -- i want to lower the tone of the discussion
  • begun 1992, first full USCode 1994, first USCode XML edition in 2002

    90K visitors/day, 35 mil hits/month, about 12-15% of Cornell’s web traffic

    prototyping shop, not comprehensive resource

    3 audiences
  • from the perspective of the dry cleaners... 80K, 85%, 120,1

    --”deserving” encodes a whole lot of fuzzy rights-based arguments
    -- need to unpack those if we are to make much progress
    -- IDRC study process reveals that it is hard to evaluate if you always start with the idea that your cause is just.
    -- transparency part 1: monitoring govt,sunlight is the best disinfectant, etc.
    -- transparency part 2: ensuring fairness and eliminating corruption by ensuring that everyone can find out the same stuff -- court of claims. Kenya.
    --
    -- communication of expectations is usually not the high drama of the Ten Commandments -- it’s usually something about the minimum allowable depth of tread for truck tires.
    -- i isolated dispute resolution because it’s what people think of first when they talk about legal information, and because it’s a good place to think about the notion of authority
  • from the perspective of the dry cleaners... 80K, 85%, 120,1

    --”deserving” encodes a whole lot of fuzzy rights-based arguments
    -- need to unpack those if we are to make much progress
    -- IDRC study process reveals that it is hard to evaluate if you always start with the idea that your cause is just.
    -- transparency part 1: monitoring govt,sunlight is the best disinfectant, etc.
    -- transparency part 2: ensuring fairness and eliminating corruption by ensuring that everyone can find out the same stuff -- court of claims. Kenya.
    --
    -- communication of expectations is usually not the high drama of the Ten Commandments -- it’s usually something about the minimum allowable depth of tread for truck tires.
    -- i isolated dispute resolution because it’s what people think of first when they talk about legal information, and because it’s a good place to think about the notion of authority
  • from the perspective of the dry cleaners... 80K, 85%, 120,1

    --”deserving” encodes a whole lot of fuzzy rights-based arguments
    -- need to unpack those if we are to make much progress
    -- IDRC study process reveals that it is hard to evaluate if you always start with the idea that your cause is just.
    -- transparency part 1: monitoring govt,sunlight is the best disinfectant, etc.
    -- transparency part 2: ensuring fairness and eliminating corruption by ensuring that everyone can find out the same stuff -- court of claims. Kenya.
    --
    -- communication of expectations is usually not the high drama of the Ten Commandments -- it’s usually something about the minimum allowable depth of tread for truck tires.
    -- i isolated dispute resolution because it’s what people think of first when they talk about legal information, and because it’s a good place to think about the notion of authority
  • from the perspective of the dry cleaners... 80K, 85%, 120,1

    --”deserving” encodes a whole lot of fuzzy rights-based arguments
    -- need to unpack those if we are to make much progress
    -- IDRC study process reveals that it is hard to evaluate if you always start with the idea that your cause is just.
    -- transparency part 1: monitoring govt,sunlight is the best disinfectant, etc.
    -- transparency part 2: ensuring fairness and eliminating corruption by ensuring that everyone can find out the same stuff -- court of claims. Kenya.
    --
    -- communication of expectations is usually not the high drama of the Ten Commandments -- it’s usually something about the minimum allowable depth of tread for truck tires.
    -- i isolated dispute resolution because it’s what people think of first when they talk about legal information, and because it’s a good place to think about the notion of authority
  • from the perspective of the dry cleaners... 80K, 85%, 120,1

    --”deserving” encodes a whole lot of fuzzy rights-based arguments
    -- need to unpack those if we are to make much progress
    -- IDRC study process reveals that it is hard to evaluate if you always start with the idea that your cause is just.
    -- transparency part 1: monitoring govt,sunlight is the best disinfectant, etc.
    -- transparency part 2: ensuring fairness and eliminating corruption by ensuring that everyone can find out the same stuff -- court of claims. Kenya.
    --
    -- communication of expectations is usually not the high drama of the Ten Commandments -- it’s usually something about the minimum allowable depth of tread for truck tires.
    -- i isolated dispute resolution because it’s what people think of first when they talk about legal information, and because it’s a good place to think about the notion of authority
  • ignorance of the law is no excuse. who is ignorant? what are they ignorant about?
    the big pile of stories represents a set of needs that are the basis for pragmatic design
    how do we meet that set of needs?
  • ignorance of the law is no excuse. who is ignorant? what are they ignorant about?
    the big pile of stories represents a set of needs that are the basis for pragmatic design
    how do we meet that set of needs?
  • googlification is appealing. it plays to the idea the government is always clueless and hackers never are. there is an appealing air of liberation about it. it plays nicely alongside rights based arguments. it’s basically what Robinson, Felten et al argue in their gov’t and the invisible hand paper last year.

    things are not that bad. government can do data well, and some parts of it do.

    government release of bulk data is necessary. it isn’t sufficient. private enterprise will not make up the difference.
  • googlification is appealing. it plays to the idea the government is always clueless and hackers never are. there is an appealing air of liberation about it. it plays nicely alongside rights based arguments. it’s basically what Robinson, Felten et al argue in their gov’t and the invisible hand paper last year.

    things are not that bad. government can do data well, and some parts of it do.

    government release of bulk data is necessary. it isn’t sufficient. private enterprise will not make up the difference.
  • googlification is appealing. it plays to the idea the government is always clueless and hackers never are. there is an appealing air of liberation about it. it plays nicely alongside rights based arguments. it’s basically what Robinson, Felten et al argue in their gov’t and the invisible hand paper last year.

    things are not that bad. government can do data well, and some parts of it do.

    government release of bulk data is necessary. it isn’t sufficient. private enterprise will not make up the difference.
  • problem with legal information is that nobody knows there’s a problem; gov culture as very closed system

    demand elasticity is quite variable for different kinds of govdata. some law is interesting to deep pockets but not broad audiences. some is interesting to broad audiences but not deep pockets. some is interesting to both (right now that would be the federal bankruptcy statutes). some is interesting to neither. does this sound like newspapers? what is the economic incentive to develop the commentary that will make the law accessible as well as available?

    railroad cases from the 1880s have gotten renewed attention
    authority can lead to monopoly
    privacy problems vs. transparency needs
  • problem with legal information is that nobody knows there’s a problem; gov culture as very closed system

    demand elasticity is quite variable for different kinds of govdata. some law is interesting to deep pockets but not broad audiences. some is interesting to broad audiences but not deep pockets. some is interesting to both (right now that would be the federal bankruptcy statutes). some is interesting to neither. does this sound like newspapers? what is the economic incentive to develop the commentary that will make the law accessible as well as available?

    railroad cases from the 1880s have gotten renewed attention
    authority can lead to monopoly
    privacy problems vs. transparency needs
  • problem with legal information is that nobody knows there’s a problem; gov culture as very closed system

    demand elasticity is quite variable for different kinds of govdata. some law is interesting to deep pockets but not broad audiences. some is interesting to broad audiences but not deep pockets. some is interesting to both (right now that would be the federal bankruptcy statutes). some is interesting to neither. does this sound like newspapers? what is the economic incentive to develop the commentary that will make the law accessible as well as available?

    railroad cases from the 1880s have gotten renewed attention
    authority can lead to monopoly
    privacy problems vs. transparency needs
  • problem with legal information is that nobody knows there’s a problem; gov culture as very closed system

    demand elasticity is quite variable for different kinds of govdata. some law is interesting to deep pockets but not broad audiences. some is interesting to broad audiences but not deep pockets. some is interesting to both (right now that would be the federal bankruptcy statutes). some is interesting to neither. does this sound like newspapers? what is the economic incentive to develop the commentary that will make the law accessible as well as available?

    railroad cases from the 1880s have gotten renewed attention
    authority can lead to monopoly
    privacy problems vs. transparency needs
  • problem with legal information is that nobody knows there’s a problem; gov culture as very closed system

    demand elasticity is quite variable for different kinds of govdata. some law is interesting to deep pockets but not broad audiences. some is interesting to broad audiences but not deep pockets. some is interesting to both (right now that would be the federal bankruptcy statutes). some is interesting to neither. does this sound like newspapers? what is the economic incentive to develop the commentary that will make the law accessible as well as available?

    railroad cases from the 1880s have gotten renewed attention
    authority can lead to monopoly
    privacy problems vs. transparency needs
  • Transcript

    • 1. why i think about dry cleaners and you should too Date
    • 2. what the lii does
    • 3. what the lii does ✤ history ✤ facts and figures ✤ what we ain’t ✤ our audience
    • 4. why do we want access to law?
    • 5. why do we want access to law? ✤ never mind why, we deserve it
    • 6. why do we want access to law? ✤ never mind why, we deserve it ✤ to monitor government operations
    • 7. why do we want access to law? ✤ never mind why, we deserve it ✤ to monitor government operations ✤ to mitigate information asymmetries
    • 8. why do we want access to law? ✤ never mind why, we deserve it ✤ to monitor government operations ✤ to mitigate information asymmetries ✤ to resolve disputes
    • 9. why do we want access to law? ✤ never mind why, we deserve it ✤ to monitor government operations ✤ to mitigate information asymmetries ✤ to resolve disputes ✤ to communicate expectations
    • 10. what was that about dry cleaners?
    • 11. what was that about dry cleaners? ✤ much of the time the reasons we need legal information are individual and mundane
    • 12. what was that about dry cleaners? ✤ much of the time the reasons we need legal information are individual and mundane ✤ that is a very big pile of stories that describes a set of pragmatic needs
    • 13. why not just googlify everything?
    • 14. why not just googlify everything? ✤ make a big pile of data, and let market forces take care of the rest
    • 15. why not just googlify everything? ✤ make a big pile of data, and let market forces take care of the rest ✤ necessary, but not sufficient
    • 16. why not just googlify everything? ✤ make a big pile of data, and let market forces take care of the rest ✤ necessary, but not sufficient ✤ this is especially true if we want to make the law accessible as well as available
    • 17. why googlification can’t be the only solution
    • 18. why googlification can’t be the only solution ✤ information about markets is imperfect
    • 19. why googlification can’t be the only solution ✤ information about markets is imperfect ✤ not all government data is equally valuable
    • 20. why googlification can’t be the only solution ✤ information about markets is imperfect ✤ not all government data is equally valuable ✤ the value of government data changes unexpectedly
    • 21. why googlification can’t be the only solution ✤ information about markets is imperfect ✤ not all government data is equally valuable ✤ the value of government data changes unexpectedly ✤ the need for authority distorts the market
    • 22. why googlification can’t be the only solution ✤ information about markets is imperfect ✤ not all government data is equally valuable ✤ the value of government data changes unexpectedly ✤ the need for authority distorts the market ✤ privacy is important
    • 23. Coordinates ✤ http://www.law.cornell.edu ✤ http://blog.law.cornell.edu/voxpop/ ✤ http://blog.law.cornell.edu/tbruce ✤ tom.bruce@cornell.edu ✤ @trbruce , @Cornell_LII ✤ http://www.facebook.com/Law.LII