{"API Evangelist"}

Open Data And API Efforts Rendered Useless When Privacy Is Ignored

On the second anniversary of the Open Government Partnership (OGP), where we are celebrating a "global effort to encourage transparent, effective, and accountable governance", and that:

OGP has grown to 60 countries that have made more than 1000 commitments to improve the governance of more than two billion people around the globe. OGP is now a global community of government reformers, civil society leaders, and business innovators working together to develop and implement ambitious open government reforms and advance good governance.

That is some pretty significant platform growth! While reading this I'm reminded of how any amount of perceived growth and value delivered via an "open data or API platform" can be immediately muted by the omission of very fundamental building blocks like privacy.

Let's review the building blocks of the Open Government Alliance:

How can you argue with that? Its very sensible set of open government platform building blocks right? However, when you look at the bigger picture you realize there is a significant building block, that us in the tech sector have realized is essential to a healthy platform ecosystem missing:

It is great that our government is committed to expanding open data, increasing transparency and efficiently engaging citizens, and sensibly manage public resources. However if our government wants to act as an open platform, just like any private sector platform, they must respect user privacy.

Without ensuring privacy for users, it doesn't matter how forward thinking your open data, information and API strategy is. Privacy and security are essential building blocks any private or public sector entity looking to build an open platform.

Nice work around the Open Government Partnership, but without addressing the privacy of citizens it is rendered pretty useless.