U.S. is a model for Canada's open government efforts

Government agencies in the United States may still be figuring out how to use Web 2.0 technologies to achieve open government goals, but that is not stopping foreign governments from using the U.S. as a model, according to a report in today’s Toronto Star.

Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto are using programs launched in Washington, D.C. as a model for sharing data with the public, according to the report.

“The District [of Columbia] provides citizens with the access to 295 datasets from multiple agencies,” the article states. “The data can be used, manipulated, and mapped as the public desires. In fact, by leveraging the interest of thousands of people, governments are finding the public represents a new, efficient way to collect and manage data.”

Government officials in Vancouver developed an application that captures garbage collection data and provide automated e-mail reminders to residents, according to the article.

Industry Canada, a government agency responsible for regional economic development, investment, and research and development, used Google Maps for a study about broadband access in rural areas. The application lets the public and Internet service providers catalog the level of service available at specific locations on a map.

At recent hearing before the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission about Internet traffic, the public used social media tools to share information about the meeting, according to a report

in the The Tyee, a British Columbia publication.

Citizen groups including the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic tweeted and blogged about the hearing, while hundreds of people from across the country tracked the hearing as it unfolded over the course of a week, the report states.

However, others in Canada's government have concerns. According to the Globe and Mail, among other Canadian publications, the nation's privacy minister, Jennifer Stoddart, ruled in mid-July that Facebook's privacy policies don't pass muster under Canada's privacy laws. 


About the Author

Doug Beizer is a staff writer for Federal Computer Week.

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