Tag Archives: politics

Decolonialising Data

After lunch at Open Data Camp 7, consultant Edafe Onerhime explained why she had wanted to raise the issue of ‘decolonialising data’.

She is Nigerian as well as British, she explained, and her research had brought her into contact with the issue of “white by default.” As an example, she said, the census puts ‘white, British’ at the top of its identity options; which affects the data that is collected, because people have to scroll down to find other options.

At the same time, she said, a lot of technology relies on data collection and analysis that is carried out in India and countries and Africa. For example, a lot of tagging of pictures for what is billed as AI is done there. The taggers may not receive much money; yet their work is consumed by affluent, Western consumers.

So, the question: “How can we remove the effects of colonisation on data collection and use?” Campers at the session felt the first issue is to recognise that there is a problem, and the second is to get more voices at the table. Then, the assumptions underlying the collection and use of data need to be interrogated. Continue reading Decolonialising Data

Open Data Horror Stories: 2017 Edition

There’s a tendency to focus on personal data as the major risk of open data. But there has to be more than that.

ODI Devon has made a policy of holding its meetings around the county. This avoids everything becoming Exeter-centric, but there is a cost to hiring the meeting rooms, and as they publish their spending as open data, it’s led to some criticism.

Continue reading Open Data Horror Stories: 2017 Edition

Can Open Data help Northern Ireland bring down its interfaces?

The interface team in Northern Ireland is tasked with dealing with the peace walls – Interfaces – which separate Protestant and Catholic areas of Belfast and elsewhere – which are due to come down by 2023. The program has a Twitter account and Facebook accounts to increase engagement with individuals and communities concerned.

Cupar Way is the largest of the interface structures.


In order to get them down, then government has committed to only removing them with the consent of the involved communities – but actually reaching this point present significant challenges. And some of these areas are the most deprived in Northern Ireland.

Continue reading Can Open Data help Northern Ireland bring down its interfaces?

A tale of two datasets

Controversially, Gavin Freeguard, head of data and transparency at the Institute for Government, was allowed a PowerPoint presentation at Open Data Camp 4. However, it was in a good cause.

His slides enabled him to give some concrete examples of the data in the Whitehall Monitoring Project, which he runs. The project monitors the shape and size of government, the morale of civil servants, and other factors.

Continue reading A tale of two datasets

Open Data: the policy problem

Open Data: the policy problem

Owen Boswarva

There used to be a strategy board and an open data user group, and many other groups steering open data at the policy level. But most of these have now gone away. The one that seems to have survived in the Data Steering Group – but that has a wide range of interests – and we don’t know how interested they are in open data. Other groups seem to have evaporated. None of them have met since 2013/14.

Some sector boards still seem to be in effect. Should these surviving groups be steered from inside or outside government? There are some clearly missing. There’s a good pool of practitioners – but how do people outside the community find out about open data now? And how do we push for more release?

Continue reading Open Data: the policy problem