Prog Blog’s Flickr Photostream Canada’s Draft Open Government Plan — The Promise and Problems Reviewed

Backdrop On Friday the Canadian Government released its draft national action plan. Although not mentioned overtly in the document, these plans are mandated by the Open Government Partnership (OGP), in which member countries must draft National Action … . . . → Read More: Canada’s Draft Open Government Plan — The Promise and Problems Reviewed On Journalism, Government and the cost of Digital Illiteracy

Earlier today the CBC published a piece by Alison Crawford about Canadian public servants editing wikipedia. It draws from a clever twitter bot — @gccaedits— that tracks edits to wikipedia from government IP address. I love the twitter account . . . → Read More: On Journalism, Government and the cost of Digital Illiteracy Canadians love for census Star Op-Ed

I’ve a small piece in the Toronto Star today about the census, Canadians reaction to it, and what it says about Canada. You can find it here: Canadians love for census says a lot about who we are.   . . . → Read More: Canadians love for census Star Op-Ed

Writings of J. Todd Ring: The Hollow Men – Poem and Commentary, for All Hallow’s Eve

Want something spooky, even terrifying, for Halloween? Read this. The Hollow Men: I think this truly epic poem (one place where the word is meaningfully used) should be read at least once a year, if not once a month, just to remind ourselves of what is actually going on. It speaks volumes, like few other […]

Writings of J. Todd Ring: The Hollow Men – Poem and Commentary, for All Hallow’s Eve

Want something spooky, even terrifying, for Halloween? Read this. The Hollow Men: I think this truly epic poem (one place where the word is meaningfully used) should be read at least once a year, if not once a month, just to remind ourselves of what is actually going on. It speaks volumes, like few other […]

mark a rayner: The Digital Sabbath, or Why I Never Reply to Your Emails on Saturday

If it’s Saturday and you’re reading this, I am far away from you. That’s because every week, I unplug and celebrate what I call the digital sabbath. I know, I know, it’s kind of blasphemous, but it is the best way to think about the activity of disconnecting from the Internet to give my brain a breather. […]

mark a rayner: You tell ’em Kurt

I post this quote for no particular reason. It’s from his collection, Wampeters, Foma, and Granfalloons. Alltop has some insanely fun links.

mark a rayner | scribblings, squibs & sundry monkey joys: Tweeting in two places may break my brain

And god help me if I ever get confused! "When my brother and I go to the swinging singles bar, we look for the girls with the dog poopie on their shoes… " — Mark A. Rayner (@markarayner) October … Continue reading → Government Procurement Failure: BC Ministry of Education Case Study

Apologies for the lack of posts. I’ve been in business mode – both helping a number of organizations I’m proud of and working on my own business. For those interested in a frightening tale of inept procurement, poor judgement and downright dirty tactics when it comes to software procurement and government, there is a wonderfully […]

Art Threat: The Act of Killing: My family lived through it

Editor’s note: Christine Phang has recently written a contextual analysis of the Oscar-nominated documentary, The Act of Killing. After we read her essay we asked her to give us her opinion on the recent attacks on the film that have been levied by BBC honcho Nick Fraser. Fraser is extremely influential in the documentary world, and his strange one-man war against this remarkable film calls for a response, this time from someone closer to the story, someone whose family lived through the genocide.

My name is Christine Phang, I am currently studying film at Concordia University in Montreal. I was (Read more…) Open Data Day 2014 – Five Fun Events Around the World

With over 110 Events happening world wide it is impossible to talk about every Open Data Day event. But looking almost every event on the wiki I’ve been deeply moved and inspired by the various efforts, goals and aspirations of the people who have organized these events. In order to help others understand why Open […] Open Data Day in 110 cities Worldwide! Here’s 6 things to do

It is, as always, with a fair amount of wonder that I watch the open data day wiki grow each year. This year there are 100 self organized events taking place worldwide (at last count). It is an impressive number. This includes events in places like Buenos Aires (which is doing open data street art), […]

The Canadian Progressive: Commentary: Legal safeguards for tenants are meaningless without enforcement

by: Kendra Milne | First published by Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives

Housing is a right. [Photo by Obert Madondo/The Canadian Progressive

Safe and secure housing is a cornerstone of overall health and well-being. The housing affordability crisis in BC is common knowledge, but less well known is the fact that the lack of enforcement of tenancy laws threatens the safety and security of rental housing across the province.

Roughly one third of British Columbians live in rental housing. They depend on BC’s tenancy laws to ensure that their rental housing is safe and reasonably well maintained, that they (Read more…) What Werewolf teaches us about Trust & Security

After sharing the idea behind this post with Bruce Schneier, I’ve been encouraged to think a little more about what Werewolf can teach us about trust, security and rational choices in communities that are, or are at risk of, being infiltrated by a threat. I’m not a security expert, but I do spend a lot of […] Some thoughts on the relaunched

Yesterday, I talked about what I thought was the real story that got missed in the fanfare surrounding the relaunch of Today I’ll talk about the new itself.

Before I begin, there is an important disclaimer to share (to be open!). Earlier this year Treasury Board asked me to chair five public consultations across Canada to gather feedback on both its open data program and in particular. As such, I solicited peoples suggestions on how could be improved – as well as shared my own – but (Read more…) The Real News Story about the Relaunch of

As many of my open data friends know, yesterday the government launched its new open data portal to great fanfare. While there is much to talk about there – something I will dive into tomorrow – that was not the only thing that happened yesterday.

Indeed, I did a lot of media yesterday between flights and only after it was over to I notice that virtually all the questions focused on the relaunch of Yet, it is increasingly clear that, for me, the much, much bigger story that the portal relaunch was the Prime Minister announcing that (Read more…) Policy-Making in a Big Data World

For those interested I appeared on The Agenda with Steve Paikin the other week talking about Big Data and policy making.

There was a good discussion with a cast of character that included (not counting myself):

Kenneth Cukier, the Data Editor for The Economist and author of “Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work, and Think“ Matthew Mendelsohn, Director of the Mowat Centre Phillip Cross of the Macdonald-Laurier Institute Vivek Goel – President and CEO of Public Health Ontario So much to dive into this space. There are, obviously, the dangers of thinking that (Read more…) The Value of Open Data – Don’t Measure Growth, Measure Destruction

Alexander Howard – who, in my mind, is the best guy covering the Gov 2.0 space – pinged me the other night to ask “What’s the best evidence of open data leading to economic outcomes that you’ve seen?”

I’d like to hack the question because – I suspect – for many people, they will be looking to measure “economic outcomes” in ways that I don’t think will be so narrow as to be helpful. For example, if you are wondering what the big companies are going to be that come out of the open data movement and/or what (Read more…) Canada Post and the War on Open Data, Innovation & Common Sense (continued, sadly)

Almost exactly a year ago I wrote a blog post on Canada Post’s War on the 21st Century, Innovation & Productivity. In it I highlighted how Canada Post launched a lawsuit against a company – – that recreates the postal code database via crowdsourcing. Canada Posts case was never strong, but then, that was not their goal. As a large, tax payer backed company the point wasn’t to be right, it was to use the law as a way to financial bankrupt a small innovator.

This case matters – especially to small start ups and non-profits. Open North (Read more…) How Car2Go ruins Car2Go

So let me start by saying, in theory, I LOVE Car2Go. The service has helped prevent me from buying a car and has been indispensable in opening up more of Vancouver to me.

For those not familiar with Car2Go, it is a car sharing service where the cars can be parked virtually anywhere in the city, so when you need one, you just use a special card and pin number to access it, drive it to where you want to go and then log out of the car leaving it for the next person to use it. All this at the

. . . → Read More: How Car2Go ruins Car2Go Open Data Day: Lessons for Hacktivists

This piece is cross-posted on TechPresident where I post articles on the intersection of politics, technology and transparency and serve as an editor.

Three years ago, after a chance encounter with Daniela Silva and Pedro Markun of Sao Paulo and a meeting with Edward Ocampo-Gooding and Mary Beth Baker in Ottawa, with whom I shared a passion about open data, we agreed to simultaneously host events in our three cities on the same day. It would be a hackathon, and because it would take place in at least two countries … we liberally called it “international” inviting others to join

. . . → Read More: Open Data Day: Lessons for Hacktivists How Hackers Will Blow Up The World: China, Cyber-Warfare and the Cuban Missile Crisis

I have a piece on TechPresident I really enjoyed writing about how certain technologies – as they become weaponized – can in turn become highly destabilizing to global stability. The current rash of Cyber-Warfare, or Cyber-Spying or Cyber-crime (depending on the seriousness and intent with which you rate it) could be one such destabilizing technology.

Here’s a long excerpt:

This would certainly not be the first time technology altered a balance of military power and destabilized global political orders everyone thought was robust. One reason the world plunged into global war in 1914 after a relatively minor terrorist attack —

. . . → Read More: How Hackers Will Blow Up The World: China, Cyber-Warfare and the Cuban Missile Crisis International #OpenDataDay: Now at 90 Cities (and… the White House)

Okay. We are 10 days away from International Open Data Day this February 23rd, 2013. There is now so much going on, I’ve been excited to see the different projects people are working on. Indeed there is so much happening, I thought I’d share just a tiny fraction of it in a little blog post to highlight the variety.

Again if you haven’t yet – please do see if there is an event near you and let the organizer know you are keen to come participate! As you see if you read below, this event is for everyone.

And if you (Read more…) #Idlenomore as an existential threat

Almost three years ago (although I only worked up the nerve to post it two years ago, so sensitive is the topic) I wrote a blog post about First Nations youth, and how I suspected they were going to radically alter Canada’s relationship with First Nations, and likely change the very notion of how people understand and think about First Nations peoples.

If you haven’t read that old post, please consider taking a look.

To be clear, I’m not claiming I predicted #idlenomore, but thanks to an amazing opportunity to be part of the Environics Institute and the opportunity

. . . → Read More: #Idlenomore as an existential threat Til Debt Do Us Part: Reality Television and Poverty

I’m traveling for business and that means several things. Most predictably it means come the evening, I’m getting on a tread mill to exercise.

I’m in Edmonton. It’s cold. Like -24C (-11F) cold.

For whatever reason, while running the TV in front of me brings up Til Death Do Us Part a sort of reality TV show about a pleasant but tough financial advisor Gail Vaz-Oxlade who descends upon impoverished couples and families and puts them on a tough regime to get them out of debt. The show is essentially a modern day morality play in which the excesses of the guest couple

. . . → Read More: Til Debt Do Us Part: Reality Television and Poverty