The Guardian: How social media filter bubbles and algorithms influence the election. “One of the most powerful players in the British election is also one of the most opaque. With just over two weeks to go until voters go to the polls, there are two things every election expert agrees on: what happens on social media, and Facebook in particular, will have an enormous effect on how the country votes; and no one has any clue how to measure what’s actually happening there.” I’m taking a little comfort in the idea that the rest of the world has learned from our dumpster fires.
Creative Commons: Bipartisan Legislation Would Ensure Open Access to Government Data. “In the United States, there are two bills making their way through Congress that would require all government data to be made available in open and machine readable formats by default. The OPEN Government Data Act has been introduced in both the House of Representatives (H.R. 1770) and the Senate (S. 760). The bill would ensure that federal government data is ‘open, available, discoverable, and usable to the general public, businesses, journalists, [and] academics.’ The legislation would codify the Obama administration’s 2013 Executive Order.”
If you want a good example of why open data and transparency by municipal governments (well, any governments, but you hear less about transparency of governments on a municipal level), please read this article by GroundUp: Here’s where to find data on Cape Town’s water crisis. “The City of Cape Town does a good job of providing basic information about the city’s dwindling water supply. Dam levels are updated weekly on the municipality’s site, which also provides information on all the dams providing water to the city. Announcements about the water crisis via electronic billboards and media releases on radio and newspapers presumably reach most residents. The recent drop in water consumption suggests the City’s messaging has some effect. But if you want to go beyond the basic data, it becomes difficult.”
Financial Post: Open data — Canada’s ‘new natural resource’ — proves harder to mine than expected. “The gold — or ‘new natural resource’ — to be mined wasn’t a precious metal, oil reserve or forest. It was government data. Before the digital age, the government’s collection of records about everything from traffic patterns to the weather was stored in banker’s boxes and filing cabinets, inaccessible to the public without an access to information request. Thanks to spreadsheets and the Internet, it can now be hosted online for anyone to analyze or build a business on.”
Washington Post: Under Trump, inconvenient data is being sidelined. “The Trump administration has removed or tucked away a wide variety of information that until recently was provided to the public, limiting access, for instance, to disclosures about workplace violations, energy efficiency, and animal welfare abuses. Some of the information relates to enforcement actions taken by federal agencies against companies and other employers. By lessening access, the administration is sheltering them from the kind of ‘naming and shaming’ that federal officials previously used to influence company behavior, according to digital experts, activists and former Obama administration officials.”
Politico has created its own set of Trump Administration visitor records. “POLITICO’s UNAUTHORIZED White House Visitor Logs stand in for the official record, which the administration has decided not to release publicly.
To build a better, completely public visitor log, we compiled not just visits to the White House, but interactions that include in-person meetings with the president at Mar-a-Lago and other venues, appearances at events and documented phone calls with foreign leaders and other politicians.”
Government Executive: Weather Service Employees File Unfair Labor Charge Over Restrictions on Social Media Use . “A Commerce Department directive from March that laid out restrictions on employees’ personal use of social media has prompted the National Weather Service Employees Organization to file an unfair labor practices complaint.”