Hearing today on five bills related to open data

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(Farheen Malik) #1

Not sure if this has been posted on Talk yet–there’s a city council hearing today (11/23) on five bills related to open data. I just read about it on Politico NY: http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/city-hall/2015/11/8583728/new-york-city-council-agenda-tracker-nov-23-2015

That article is behind a paywall, so I’m copying and pasting the section that talks about the hearing–

At 1 p.m. Monday at 250 Broadway, the Committee on Technology will hold a hearing on five bills related to open data.

Intro. 890 would require the Department of Information Technology & Telecommunications to preserve data subject to removal and to create guidelines on the division of larger data sets into smaller data sets when necessary.

Intro. 898 would require every data set available on the open data portal to be accompanied by a plain language data dictionary.

Intro. 900 would require every data set containing address data to display that data in the same format.

Intro. 914 would require that all requests for inclusion of data sets on the open data portal receive a response within two weeks and a final determination within two months.

Intro. 915 would require data sets available on the open data portal to be kept updated.


(Noel Hidalgo) #2

@fma2 Thanks for sharing this! This is the statement I gave to the City Council. As one of individuals fighting for increased open data oversight, I’m very excited about these bills.

“Today, the Nation’s best open data program gets better. We thank the Council & Council Member Vacca for their leadership. We are very excited to have legislation outlining data dictionaries and address standardization. The BetaNYC community is excited to work with the City to share our experience and increase data accessibility.”


(Farheen Malik) #3

Awesome.

Here’s the write-up on it from Politico NY–

Technology committee passes open data bills

James Vacca. (William Alatriste for the New York City Council)

By MIRANDA NEUBAUER 8:15 p.m. | Nov. 23, 2015

The City Council’s committee on technology on Monday unanimously passed five pieces of open data legislation after a negotiation with the de Blasio administration.

“This legislation … would remedy issues that have been brought up time and time again when we have discussed open data: user-friendliness, data retention, public responsiveness and the timeliness of updated datasets,” Councilman James Vacca, chair of the committee, said.

A bill introduced by Vacca would require that datasets on the open data portal are kept current with other copies of the data on other websites. Councilman Fernando Cabrera sponsored a bill that requires the city to preserve older versions of data rows that may be subject to permanent replacement, and calls on the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications to create guidelines on how to divide larger data-sets in order to address possible archival, technical or practical concerns.

Legislation from Councilman Vincent Gentile requires a data dictionary for every data set on the open data portal, while a bill from Councilman Ben Kallos calls for the standardization of address and geospatial information on the portal. Councilman Ritchie Torres introduced legislation setting an initial response timeline of two weeks for any data set request.

According to Vacca, among the changes to the original bills include clarifying in his bill how current the datasets must be.

Two other bills that had been part of the same package in October are still under negotiation with the administration, Vacca said, with the possibility of agreement in the coming weeks. “We’re not giving up. We should know in another week or so,” he said. “We didn’t want to delay this package.”

One of those bills would require reviewing data requested by Freedom of Information requests for inclusion in the open data portal, while the other would require the Department of Investigation to conduct a series of audits to determine agencies’ compliance with the open data law. During an October hearing, chief analytics officer Amen Ra Mashariki had expressed some misgivings about the latter bill.

But Reinvent Albany, the group that helped draft the original open data law, had little but praise for the legislation. “We greatly appreciate Technology Chair Jimmy Vacca, and his colleagues, for listening to the public and taking pragmatic steps to get city agencies to publish accurate, usable, timely, agency data,” the group said in a statement. Public data, the group said, “helps us understand where government is working and not working, and where and which services need to be improved.”


(Noel Hidalgo) #4

Here’s the press release from Council Member Vacca’s office.

CITY COUNCIL PASSES OPEN DATA LEGISLATIVE PACKAGE

BILLS TO IMPROVE OPEN DATA LAW

At the NYC Council’s Stated Meeting on Tuesday, November 24th, the Council voted in favor of a legislative package of five bills designed to improve the existing Open Data Law. Committee on Technology Chair James Vacca, along with Council Members Gentile, Cabrera, Torres, and Kallos are lead sponsors of the legislation.

The Open Data Law, passed in 2012, requires the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DoITT) to work with City agencies to post public data online in a centrally accessible location - the Open Data portal - by 2018. DoITT has made considerable efforts to ensure compliance and has succeeded in populating the portal with new data as it becomes available. However, several issues have arisen that necessitated this legislative remedy, ranging from technical standards to overall compliance.

“This package of five bills will dramatically strengthen the Open Data Law,” said Council Member James Vacca. “Each piece of legislation will improve users’ experience, and ultimately, will make a larger amount of data more accessible to all.” Vacca is the lead sponsor of legislation designed to require the timely updating of certain public data sets on the open data portal. “It is extremely important that our Open Data datasets are up-to-date. All users should be assured that the information up on the portal is the most recent available, and I believe my bill will do just that. I thank Speaker Mark-Viverito, Council Members Gentile, Cabrera, Torres, Kallos, and the administration for taking the time to negotiate these bills with me, and I look forward to the results. Open Data is a priority for the Committee on Technology, for the Council as a whole, and for the administration, and I am thrilled to be moving forward with these bills, the first I have passed through this committee.” Additionally, four other bills were passed covering additional inadequacies in the existing law.

“Opening data and structuring it to improve public access is allowing many government agencies around the U.S. and the world to improve efficiency and find solutions to long-standing problems,” said Council Member Fernando Cabrera. “Int. 890 will increase public access to New York City data through the creation and preservation of archives that allow us to track trends over time in order to make important decisions about how to move forward.”

“Today’s passage of the Open Data legislative package is a significant step in improving the system that allows the public to request government data and also provides increased transparency. My bill would set up a timeline for responding to open data requests and removes the backlog that has been lingering for months. The public should be able to get speedy responses to their requests and this bill will ensure that. I look forward to the package being signed into law and implemented as quickly as possible,” said Council Member Ritchie Torres of the Bronx.

“Standardizing address and geospatial information for datasets on the Open Data Portal will provide a solution to the frustrating issue of mapping data with no set format,” said Council Member Ben Kallos, a software developer. “I thank Chair Vacca for his commitment to meaningful improvements to the Open Data Law and I look forward to an Open Data Portal that is more accessible and usable for New Yorkers.”

“The Open Data Legislative Package ensures that all New York City residents can access and easily comprehend our City agencies’ flow of information,” said Council Member Vincent Gentile.

“We applaud the City Council and the Mayor’s Office for agreeing on this package of five bills which strengthen and improve NYC’s landmark Open Data Law. We greatly appreciate Technology Chair Jimmy Vacca, and his colleagues, for listening to the public and taking pragmatic steps to get city agencies to publish accurate, usable, timely, agency data. This is what opening up government looks like. Together, these bills give an important boost to open data, and help make city government more transparent and effective,” said John Kaehny, Co-Chair NYC Transparency Working Group and Executive Director of Reinvent Albany, who helped craft New York City’s 2012 Open Data Law.

"Today, the Nation’s best open data program gets better. We thank the Council & Council Member Vacca for their leadership. We are very excited to have legislation outlining data dictionaries and address standardization. The BetaNYC community is excited to work with the City to share our experience and increase data accessibility,” said Noel Hidalgo, Executive Director of BetaNYC.

“Citizens Union applauds the City Council for working with the administration to strengthen the City’s landmark Open Data Law,” said Dick Dadey, Executive Director of Citizens Union. “The passage of these bills shows that the City is committed to learn from experience and adapt to make its data even more accessible.”

“Common Cause NY thanks Chair Vacca and congratulates the City Council on passing bills that will standardize the ways our city agencies’ data is made available for public use,” said Susan Lerner, Common Cause NY’s Executive Director. “Formalizing a data dictionary and geospatial information will enhance the usefulness of these datasets created by our public tax dollars.”

“The League of Women Voters of the City of New York supports the Open Data laws of NYC because they promote transparency in government,” said Catherine Gray, co-president of the League of Women Voters of NYC. “These 5 bills will increase public access, promote more active participation in government, and enhance understanding of major policy. Technology will offer access to vital public data including machine readable formats, automatic updates and better searching tools.”

11.24.15 CITY COUNCIL PASSES OPEN DATA LEGISLATIVE PACKAGE.pdf (503.3 KB)


(Farheen Malik) #5

Here’s another Politico NY write-up–

Advocates praise Council passage of open data legislation

By MIRANDA NEUBAUER 5:53 p.m. | Nov. 24, 2015

Transparency advocates on Tuesday hailed the passage of a package of bills related to the city’s open data law and portal.

As POLITICO NY reported Monday, the City Council’s technology committee passed the bills related to user-friendliness of the open data portal, data retention, public responsiveness to data requests and the timeliness of data sets.

"This package of five bills will dramatically strengthen the Open Data Law,” committee Chairman James Vacca said in a statement. “Each piece of legislation will improve users’ experience, and ultimately, will make a larger amount of data more accessible to all.”

Councilman Fernando Cabrera said in a statement that the bill he sponsored “will increase public access to New York City data through the creation and preservation of archives that allow us to track trends over time in order to make important decisions about how to move forward.”

“Today, the nation’s best open data program gets better,” Noel Hidalgo, executive director of civic technology group Beta NYC said in a statement. “We are very excited to have legislation outlining data dictionaries and address standardization. The BetaNYC community is excited to work with the City to share our experience and increase data accessibility.”

John Kaehny, executive director of Reinvent Albany and co-chair of the Transparency Working Group who helped draft the city’s open data law, called the legislation an “important boost to open data.”

In a hearing Monday, however, staff attorney Dominic Mauro said the group would still like to see a private right of action to ensure agency compliance similar to the Freedom of Information Law.

Two pieces of legislation that were originally part of the package are still being negotiated with the administration, Vacca said. They would require reviewing data requested by Freedom of Information requests for inclusion in the open data portal, and would require the Department of Investigation to conduct a series of audits to determine agencies’ compliance with the open data law, a proposal that did not have the administration’s support in a hearing in October.

Vacca suggested Monday an agreement was possible in the coming week.


(Farheen Malik) #6

This was in Politico NY today! @noneck

De Blasio signs open data bills

Minerva Tantoco. (Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images for TechCrunch)

By MIRANDA NEUBAUER 2:21 p.m. | Nov. 30, 2015

Mayor Bill de Blasio on Monday signed a package of bills designed to make the city’s open data portal more user-friendly, three years after the passage of the city’s open data law.

De Blasio, Anne Roest, commissioner of the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications, Amen Ra Mashariki, chief analytics officer, and Minerva Tantoco, chief technology officer, said the bills would help the administration’s goal of making the open data portal’s store of information more accessible.

“The mayor’s office of data analytics and our partners at DoITT know that data is more than just numbers,” Mashariki said.

Tantoco noted how different groups from inside and outside government can come together to take a data-driven approach to solving city problems. “The more open, the more interoperable and the more user-friendly a platform, the more innovation can take place, and the more we can find new ways to promote access and equality,” she said.

“I have to tell you that these bills are really not sexy bills, and they’re really not controversial bills that you’re going to hear editorial boards debate for days and days on end, however, they make government tick,” said Councilman James Vacca, sponsor of one of the bills and chair of the Council’s Committee on Technology.

Councilman Ben Kallos, sponsor of one of the other bills, praised the legislation’s potential to make city government “location aware,” saying that agencies or advocates will be able draw on the standard to more easily determine where incidents take place.

Noel Hidalgo, executive director of technology advocacy group BetaNYC, said after the signing that he will join a group of CUNY undergraduate students working on open data issues with the Civic Innovation Fellows program, which BetaNYC is running in partnership with Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, who spearheaded the original open data law. “We look forward to seeing more legislation and activity from the Council and the administration,” Hidalgo said.

As POLITICO New York previously reported, Vacca said after a committee hearing last week that two other bills related to the open data portal are still under negotiation. One would require reviewing data requested by Freedom of Information requests for inclusion in the open data portal, while the other would require the Department of Investigation to conduct a series of audits to determine agencies’ compliance with the open data law.

De Blasio also signed bills establishing the Office of Labor Standards, extending the bio-technology tax credit for three years and extending the current rate of the tax on hotel rooms for another four years.

He also heard testimony on a bill establishing a Department of Veterans Services, which will be signed at a ceremony at a later date.


(Noel Hidalgo) #7

Thanks!!! I wish Politico used a more inclusive picture.


Help us program 2016!
(Joel Natividad) #8

This is awesome! All these tweaks will go a long way towards making NYC’s open data portal more useful, and will be a big step towards Open Knowledge - “open data that is useful, usable and used!”

Already, we have some of these features on data.beta.nyc - Data Requests, and going further, per dataset issue tracking and of course, our Discourse integration!

On the standardized address front, we’re currently implementing something that we’ll preview during the holidays that will not only leverage GeoClient, but will go a bit further.

On top of that, there are also some other exciting improvements we’re going to implement during the holidays, culled from the hundreds of CKAN extensions at extensions.ckan.org.

Towards Open Knowledge!