Open data – (gulp) a good idea

WHOA! STOP THE PRESSES!!!

The Cons, I mean those ReforrrrmmmmCon Harperites at whom I am always throwing barbs… They, they, they…

I can’t say it. Too conditioned against it…

Gulp.

They have done something RIGHT! Something I agree with! Maybe even TWO things on the same day!

How can I ever face my children again?

Yes. The Harper Government proudly unveiled their Open Data Initiative yesterday. And being a data geek kinda dude, I have to applaud this. As much as it causes sharp pains in my chest, I have say that this is a good idea. It really is.

Yes, the timing is suspect as, during the upcoming election campaign, I am sure that the opposition will point to the lack of evidence-based decision making by the Harperites and the whole secrecy that shrouds the PMO like a heavy fog over the Ottawa River. This initiative will allow the government to say “Hell no! Just look at all of the information that we are making available! Look!”

And yes, it is not much more than an aggregation of data that are already available to the public if you know where to look. And no, it is not at all complete. I punched in a couple of search terms and came up with nada – even though i know it is out there.

But I have to give credit where due. It is a good first step. You can find the site here at data.gc.ca.

One thing seriously concerns me though. I read over the licensing agreement (yes, I did, really) that the user has to consent to and I came across this:

5.3 You shall not use the data made available through the GC Open Data Portal in any way which, in the opinion of Canada, may bring disrepute to or prejudice the reputation of Canada.

Huh? By this, I assume that by using the data, you are agreeing to not use anything that might embarrass the government? Really? Seriously? It can only be used to tell “good news” stories?

(As an aside, shouldn’t Canada read Harper?)

Change this Section, please.

The other thing that they did right??? I can’t talk about it right now… something to do with Libya… but still shaking from admitting the first thing… BP rising… serenity now…

 

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